I hold out my makeshift sign that reads “Mars or Denver” for less than fifteen minutes and an older man picks me up. His old dog named January sits in the front seat.
Bill says that he is heading east of Aurora, where his parents own a farm. He grew up in Dayton, Ohio, in a rural area where they were “kind of farmers” according to Bill. “We grew corn and stuff like that, but not much else,” he says. ” I definitely grew up in the country.”
January pants in the heat as we bounce on down the highway and he tells me the short, happy-ending story of the life of January. ” We bought her at a garage sale for five bucks,” he jokes, ” she was stuck in a cage full of pitbulls and you know, we saved her.” He laughs.
I ask him if he was able to read my sign as he got onto the highway merge. He laughs. “Well, I’m not exactly going to Mars, but we can go to Denver.”
We get to talking about music, and he tells me about a friend of his that said he was going to be a professional musician when he was young. “When he said that, we were all kind of like ‘ok, that’s awesome, just have a back up plan’ kind of thing. Well, he kept working on it and eventually his music was showcased on some National Geographic episode, which lead to his music also getting used on an informercial. The company cut him a check for 600, and told him that ‘there would probably be some more royalties coming in the mail later on.’ Well, two and half years later there was a check in his mailbox for 20 grand. My friend did a dance in the street.” I suppose the lesson in this story is to not give up, and nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
There is hardly any traffic (surprisingly) and before we know it, we’re back in Denver. He stops alongside the highway and I hop out towards the lightrail stop. “Good luck in all you day!,” he hollars out the window. ” Nice meeting you!”
Likewise sir, likewise!