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rest stop


Oregon Rest Stop Is The Best On The West Coast.

No one stops at an Oregon rest stop just for the toilet. There’s so much more to do.

Walk the dog in the dog yard, picnic tables, and a break from the people you’ve been cooped up with for hours is more important than the toilet most of the time.

Is an Oregon rest stop better than any other? Travel the national interstates and you’ll see.

Oregon resties have the best facilities, that’s a given. Clean and fresh.

They also act as stages for homeless, college girls out of gas, and musicians on the road.

On a good day it’s a party; on a bad day it’s still better than the last place.

Then I met George.

He called himself homeless, then pointed to his pickup and homemade camper.

“How long you been homeless?”

“Bout eight months. Th-this is new to me. You hear about it but it would never happen to you.”

“Now it’s you.”

“Sure is.”

“You okay?”

“Not going anywhere. Need gas money first.”

“Good food?”

“Enough to do until I get to a store.”

“What’re you going to do?”

“Get cleaned up. I’m 61. I don’t beg.”

“You a veteran?

“No. I couldn’t get in for volunteering.”

“Okay. Look, here’s five bucks. Not much but I hope it helps.”

“No other fives in my pocket. Thanks.”

“Last time I gave money at a rest stop it was college girls out of gas.”

“I’ve heard of that. I’m no college girl.”

“They work the valley?”

“Not college girls from what I’ve seen.”

George lights a cigarette.

“They’ve been down this far?”

“Between Eugene and Portland. Closer to Portland.”

“That’s where you’re headed? Portland?”

“It’s a chance.”

“You’ve got some gas money.”

“That I do.”

“Listen, just tell me the truth. Those college girls aren’t over in your camper, are they?”


“You’re not the kingpin of freeway college girl scammers?”

“No, but it sounds like you’ve thought of it.”

“Just passing by, George.”

“That’s how it works.”

“Here’s how it works: You didn’t choose homeless, it chose you. Now you make smaller choices until one of them gets you a roof. I didn’t give you five dollars because you’re a face of meth downer.”

George perked up.

“This is what you do,” I said. “Whether it makes sense of not, make yourself do something different each day.

“Can’t help doing that.”

“I’m not done. Do something different. I’m no preacher but I heard one on TV. 60 Minutes interviewed a brother living in the oldest Christian community in the world. It was on a remote cliff in a remote place. Morely Safer asked about the religious part of their day. The brother said he prays every waking moment.”

“Sounds interesting,” George said.

“The brother said he prayed while talking in every breath. The prayer? Help Me Jesus. That’s it. Help Me Jesus. So here you are George. Say it slow, not out loud. Throw a few Thank You Jesus lines in there, too.”

“Help me Jesus? That’s it?”

“You’ve got it George. Remember the words.”

“Help Me Jesus?”

“Good. See ya, George.”




About David Gillaspie
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