Meet The Parents in Nashville

Marilyn was all set to spend the summer traveling together, but her parents were most alarmed when she told them she'd be hitchhiking to get around. She asked for me to meet her in Nashville where they lived in hopes that I could give them some perspective, or at least put them more at ease.

At the moment I was traveling with Rebecca who I'd met up with in Savannah and hitchhiked with to New Orleans and Memphis with, so we weren't all too far from Nashville. My friends we'd been staying with dropped us off just east of the city on the freeway so we could get moving.

We walked on down along the freeway for a little bit until a state trooper rolled up to tell us we couldn't be on the freeway, that we needed to walk back to the on ramp. Luckily a big truck puled over for us before we walked all the way back, he gave us a ride up to a truck stop in Jackson where we managed to get another ride from a trucker, one who'd been on the road some fifty years.

He got us halfway to Memphis from there, leaving us at another truck stop along with ten bucks and a couple slices of pizza to munch on while we waited for a break in the rainstorm that had started. Eventually it died down just a bit and we headed for the freeway on ramp. A rainbow stretched over the sky above us as we joked around smiling trying to get our next ride, me picking Rebecca up as high as possible and tossing her a bit as she stuck her thumb out.

A nurse heading to Nashville went for it, pulling over and letting us in. She took us the rest of the distance to the Nashville outskirts and dropped us off under another rainbow. Marilyn was still an hour out or so, I ended up marching us down a mile or two towards a coffee shop to wait for her.

She arrived and soon we were cruising back to her friends place to stay the night. The march to the coffee shop had just about broke Rebecca's back, so she stayed behind to rest while the three of us went to the nearby brewery for food and tasty beers before calling it a night.

In the morning I ran around with Marilyn while she did some errands before we had to go meet her parents. Immediately beforehand we had the mission of finding a place to grab a beer, she was pretty nervous about the whole thing. She described her parents as pretty stuck in their ways, very unhappy about the whole thing.

We met up with them and her sister at a buffet style "meat and three" place. We chowed the meal while nothing came up about our travels ahead, just small talk and family talk catching up.

Afterwards we headed out to their new house that was still not quite ready to move into, they were moving there to be closer to Marilyn's sister. Still more small talk, talk about the house and renovations and such. We stood in the kitchen and I felt it dragging, they didn't want to bring anything up. I figured if I went to the bathroom the conversation would swing.

I was right, as I returned to kitchen the tone had completely changed.

"You guys talking about hitchhiking?", I smiled.

Marilyn was on the defensive, her dad's tone was very serious, her mom's with concern. To them she was committing suicide.

"I've had a lot of great experiences", I chimed in, "I've gotten thousands of rides and met incredible people all over the place".

"What about Kelly?", her dad asked me. I was confused now.

"Kelly?", I asked.

"Kelly down in Mexico", he said, "I read about it on your blog".

That caught me a little off guard, I didn't know he'd been doing a background check on me. He was referring to a story I'd posted hitchhiking down in Mexico with a friend from Arizona, I'd been riding in the back of a pickup truck, Kelly in front, when suddenly the truck stopped and she bailed out the window. I threw our bags off the truck while the couple guys laughed, but did nothing in the way of pursuing us. They had told her we were being kidnapped and trying to rest their hands on her knees. This was far and away the closest thing to a "dangerous" ride, despite their lackluster, but with the title on my post "Escape from Kidnapping Rapists after days of Hitchhiking in East Mexico", it's obvious why it's popped up in my popular posts and caught a concerned father's eye.

"That all worked out fine, though...", I told him, "and that was one of thousands of rides, did you read any of the other posts?", I asked, but nothing mattered at this point.

"All it takes is one bad ride!", he returned. The discussion continued, although they wanted to hear nothing more from me.

"Let's agree to disagree", the parents kept repeating whenever I tried to talk, then continuing on with their warnings and disapproval.

"You seem like a decent guy", her dad told me, "It's just this circumstance".

Finally it was completely exhausted, there was nothing left to say that hadn't been said, Marilyn was going to do what she wanted whether they were comfortable with it or not.

Walking out her mom told said, "We care about her much more than you do"

"Of course, you're her parents, but I still care about her", I replied.

"If you cared about her you wouldn't be putting her in this situation", she said back at me.

"Not to rehash once more, but I'm actually aware of the situation", they didn't seem to want to learn it.

Marilyn said her goodbyes and we hopped in the car.

"Well then. How about a beer?", I smiled. I'd expected her parents to play twenty questions with me, not tell me I was essentially evil and leading their daughter to her certain death. That's how it goes.

We met up with one of Marilyn's friends for a drink shortly after, they caught up for a while, told the story of the parents and so on. We stopped by her sister's briefly after, then Marilyn took me out to Prince's, a hot chicken spot she'd fallen in love with while going to school in Nashville. It was pretty damn good.

We got back to her friend's house where one of the roommates was watching a movie with Rebecca, they'd been keeping each other entertained all day. Rebecca had discovered some friends or family of friends who had a farm outside Bloomington, Indiana who needed some help. Conveniently this is where Marilyn lived and where she was heading the next day, so we could all ride up together and Rebecca and I would part ways from our hitchhiking adventure.

Soon sleep, glad the parents thing was out of the way, ready for the next move.

May 10, 2013 to May 11, 2013