Preacher Jo and I slept under the stars last night while Ma, Pa and the kids slept in the Airstream. This morning I was salting what was left of Aunt Myrtle when a pickup full of men comes down the road toward our campsite. I feared marauders, so I grabbed the shotgun and told Preacher Jo to go into the Airstream and keep everyone quiet.
The pickup pulls up and the driver hops out and asks if we got any food. I tell him sure, we got some of Aunt Myrtle in this here barrel, and he pulls a bunch of shotgun shells out of his pocket and tells me he’ll trade a couple of boxes for some of the meat. So we get to talking, and I ask him where he’s headed with his friends.
“Well sir,” he says, “We’re all furloughed federal workers, so we’re headed to San Bernardino to get us some government jobs. I reckon we’re all just lookin’ to reclaim our dignity after all this fuss.”
“Well no foolin'” I says. “There are jobs for non-essential federal workers out yonder?”
“No sir, but they got state and municipal jobs. In fact, them’re the only kinda job a body can get in San Bernardino.”
Well, I knew it was risky, but I packed up the kids and the folks and Preacher Jo and followed those men onto the Cajon Pass. I’ll be a bullfrog in a butter churn if that highway wasn’t packed with trailers, motor homes, and even a few flatbed trucks with men just a-layin’ out on them. Far as the eye could see, furloughed federal workers lookin’ to get into ol’ San Berdoo.
I put the kids and the folks up in a motel in Devore that night and Preacher Jo and I shared the Airstream. Preacher Jo and I agreed that the Great Universal Presence just might’ve sent us a sign.