I was hitchhiking back from college
To my home in Centerville
When I was picked up by a driver
Who was no more than just a girl.
She was obviously frightened
But felt sorry for me shivering in the snow;
I was freezing and already tired
With over sixty miles still left to go.
I threw my backpack in the backseat
Then placed my butt with her up in front;
I held my hands up to the heater vents
A barely audible “Thank You” I did grunt.
She was headed for Cincinnati
To see her Grandparents on Christmas Day;
Luckily for this cold college boy
Centerville was just a little bit out of her way.
She said, “You must be brave to be hitchhicking.”
I said, “More like, just too poor to own a car.
I got picked up near the university,
But they could only take me home this far.”
“I’ve been stranded at this exit
For more than, I guess, over an hour.
Of course, just about at that exact same time,
We got hit by this wonderful snow shower.”
She said, “Well, the snow is really beautiful,
But I could barely see you through the storm;
I can turn the heater up some more,
If you need it to get warm.”
I peeled my thin, wet gloves off;
My fingers were swollen and really red.
“I’m not sure how much longer I could have lasted.”
Were the only words I managed to have said.
The radio was playing gospel music;
A picture of Jesus was hanging from the mirror;
Her face was angelically innocent
When I finally could see her much more clearer.
“So, what made you pick up a complete stranger,
Hitchhiking on the side of the road,
When I am sure never to do so,
Is what you’ve always been told?”
“Well, it is almost Christmas,
And, I was thinking of Joseph and Mary;
I got a feeling in my gut, that I could do this,
Even though, I admit, it’s kind of scary.”
I laughed, “My name is actually Joseph,
Though I assure you I am no saint.”
She said, “And, my name is Mary.”
In a voice so timid, cute and quaint.
She dropped me off near the Dayton Mall,
A six mile walk yet to my home
But I hiked the rest with a pep in my step
No longer feeling like I was all alone.
I know I didn’t thank Mary near enough
For that ride over forty years ago
Her faith in her gut feeling
Rescued me from standing all day there in the snow.
My poetry is not read by too many eyes
And really doesn’t travel all that far
But I am hoping this one somehow finds
The angel driving that Cincinnati bound car.
I have never forgotten your courage
And the warmth I felt throughout that ride
The best Christmas gift ever received to this day
By that Ohio State guy.