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Monday, February 29, 2016

Go'n My Way?

The early 1950's found me living in Morocco and caring for my
first two babies. Husband came home and announced that I could
begin house-hunting because he was being transferred to an air
base in the Atlas Mountains.

That was good news to me because I always preferred mountain
air to sea air and it would be safer getting out of the crosshairs
of the civil unrest of the revolution that was in it's early stages. I
was literally being followed by gunsights as I'd push the pram to
the market each day. I was always mistaken for being French and
it was the French they were fighting back then, not the Americans.

Early the next morning, I arranged a baby sitter, dropped husband
off at the base and continued up into the mountains to find us a new
home. That was an easy task as I found a pensione almost immediately
and began the drive home.

Bang, flop, flop, flop. A flat. Dang, dang. Even though I was
strong and agile at that time, I couldn't budge the lug nuts.  What to
do on this sparsely traveled mountain road and I could feel new
milk arriving and looking for a baby. (Only the gals know that
feeling)

A big black shiny caddy came around the bend and stopped. The
windows were dark and I couldn't see inside. For a moment my
gut fluttered in slight panic.  The window opened and I saw an
older Arabian gentleman wearing the red/white checkered
kaffiyeh on his head.  In almost perfect English, he asked if I
needed a ride to Casablanca.  I assured him I did and he said
something to the tune of, "hop in." Well, it was only something
 close to that and it was so long ago, I don't remember our exact
conversation.

But it was a pleasant exchange of words even though "in after-
thoughts," I knew I had made a huge blunder when I jumped
into the front seat in enthusiastic American style. Thank
goodness he didn't seem to notice or care.

Mist clouds my eyesight now when I recall all the acts of
kindness paid to us while we were guests in their country. That
was evidently the "old guard" and they are long gone. Times
have changed, governments have changed and nothing seems
the same. A new breed in all the countries and oh....
I just don't know. I simply just don't know...........................
 



42 comments:

  1. Times have changed since then. Wow. What a great experience, but a bit scary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. T. Powell Coltrain
      Thanks for visiting. Yeah and time goes on along the side
      of it. Time goes on, with or without us and do you know why, when older, time simply goes by faster. I used to
      joke about that but now I know it's really true. Hahaha

      Delete
  2. I'm so glad you were rescued safely and there was such kindness then. Times have truly changed in so many parts of the world.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Kay
      Good to see you again. I hope everything is going
      very well in the islands.

      Delete
  3. Times have changed along the way and not much for the better it seems. I'd be super paranoid being there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat
      You are absolutely right. I hear it is not the place for
      visitors at all. I don't know if it was because I was young
      at the time or maybe just plain stupid, but I always felt
      quite safe there, in spite of a revolution beginning. (I'm sure
      it was the latter. Hahaha)

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    2. I have a hard time believing you were stupid, so that can't be it. I'm with The Cat.

      Delete
  4. When we first bought our condo in Maui, I USED TO pick up hitchhikers--not now!!

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    Replies
    1. Fishducky
      You have a condo in Maui? Good real estate. Not much chance for hitchhikers to get rides these days. Even in small town ski areas. My son was skiing and his wife wanted to leave (this is in Bozeman) so he said he'd hitch a ride back. He said it was difficult.... now even the skiers are paranoid to give anyone a lift. ( Is that a pun.... you know,
      ski....lift...... forget it. )

      Delete
  5. Unfortunately we just do not see the nice people in the news.

    BTW, to loosen these lug nuts you sometimes have stand on the wrench and jump up and down on it...or join AAA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joeh
      Jump up and down on the wrench, huh?
      No AAA in Morocco at that time.
      But.......I've been a member of AAA since 1980. At one point an executive sent me a piece of "appreciation paper."
      It was probably at 35 years. An insult..... I want more than a piece of paper. LOL

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  6. I'm glad you were given a lift by a friendly gentleman and arrived safely back to your babies. It's nice to know that even in war torn countries there are still nice people.
    My son in law and grandson both carry one of those automatic drill things to loosen lug nuts. Would have been so handy to have one way back then when you needed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River
      I didn't know there was such a thing as an auto drill thingy. I'm sure that wasn't around 65 years ago. Now I have a cell phone and AAA for travel ....... although around here and in the mountains there are spots where a cell phone would be just extra baggage. These days, I drive as little as possible. I'm trying to shed some extra pounds on a fat dog so I've been walking everywhere and taking her along. I walked to the bank downtown and had to take her into the bank. She had just been to the groomers the day before and she did look beautiful inspite of the extra weight. I turned my back for a minute and the bank people were giving her treats. So much for her losing weight. But she loved the attention. Hahaha

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  7. I can't imagine the unease of living with guns at the ready constantly.
    So glad you were picked up by such a gentleman who wasn't a stickler for custom.

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    Replies
    1. Patti
      I guess I was too young and dumb to know any better. Now I'd probably freak out. I had always heard how sub-servient the women were of but the Arab couples who lived around us, the wives seemed just as bossy as any American woman.
      Hahahaha

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  8. I picked up hitchhikers in my youth, and I even hitchhiked once simply to experience it. By my early 30s, no way. I wonder how much things change in time because we become more wary, less trusting of others as we age.

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    Replies
    1. Susie
      I remember doing the same during the .....what? 60's and 70's? Anyway it was during the hippy time of extreme bell-bottom pants. Was there less violence or was it just not published or talked about. I really don't know.

      Delete
  9. Hi Manzanita - those were the days ... helpful people - thankfully people have usually rescued me - though not in enormous limousines!

    Now-a-days .. if I remember I carry my mobile phone - and that helps ... fun story and living in Morocco must have been so fascinating .. cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary
      Days of yore did seem to present a more friendly atmosphere but there are some advantages of today, too.
      Yes, cell phones do serve a feeling of security. That is what I mainly use mine for......when I drive outside of Helena.
      As for general conversation, I'm still stuck in the old-fashion mode and use my land line. Haha
      It's good to hear from you.

      Delete
  10. The world really would be so much nicer if everyone would just be kind. It's a simple concept really.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Rosie
      You do speak the truth, my dear. You make me see that often I have to kick myself in the pants (and that is not an easy trick....lol) When one gets a little "long in the tooth"
      one has to remind oneself about simple kindness.
      Thank you

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  11. The greatest hindrance to kindness (particularly to strangers) is fear. I remember seeing fairly recently one of those social projects in which they hire actors to do something in order to see how people respond. In this scenario, a man walks into the bar in the afternoon (clearly already drunk). He proceeds to make a fool of himself. The bartender cuts him off. He gets glances from the other patrons. Some even try to kindly tell him that maybe he's had enough. He then announces he's driving home and pulls out his keys. You can see that several patrons want to stop him, but no one does. They all allow him to leave to drive home believing he's extremely drunk. (He was an actor and not at all drunk.) Then they ran the same scenario with a woman. Very different response. The patrons felt more able to say something to her to try and curb the drinking. When she announced she was leaving, a man actually followed her out of the bar, took her keys, and told her his driver would be taking her home.

    The producers came clean with all of these people about what was going on and talked with them about why they did or didn't react. With the man, they were afraid. What if he started a fight or became violent? With the woman, not so much. Fear of what might happen dictates what we will do in any given situation.

    The truth is that people still want to help. I think it's written into our DNA. However, it's always balanced against self preservation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin
      You just told a fascinating story about fear. I love it. So true about exactly who it is, one is trying to help. In my case, the man had no fear about giving a lift to a damsal in distress (maybe my name could have been Bonnie) LOL but there is no way I would get in a car with a stranger these days. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have a cell-phone.

      Rightly so that often, people get belligerent when drinking and think they can drive like they are in a nascar race. Ha

      Delete
  12. Wow, you lived in Morocco. I so want to go there. What a lovely thing to share, this random act of kindness by a stranger in a strange land. Others here have said it already. If only we could be kind to one another...no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It WAS a beautiful time of my life and I couldn't imagine living in any country that felt that safe. Now, of course, I read that no one should visit Morocco. Way, way too bad. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

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  13. Times have certainly changed, that is for darn sure. I remember, as my ship was heading east further into the Mediterranean (in 1978), we sailed well within sight of the mountains. I remarked to a friend standing next to me on the catwalk just off the flight deck, "Huh, that's Africa they tell us, but I'm unconvinced."
    "How so?"
    "Well, I don't see any giraffes, elephants, or chimpanzees."
    "Yeahhhhhhhhh, you're right!"
    This was the same guy who thought flying fish were stupid birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Al
      You always start my brain to grinding out new thoughts and questions. You did a lot of travel by water when you were in the Navy, so it made me wonder if water travel gives one an entirely different perspective of geographic
      locations. I really like maps and I love to ponder over them. I have a large map on my "so-called livingroom," wall that I love to .....just...ponder. Then I look at the Peters projection map and it looks all elongated, like a long drip of water on a rainy day and the US appears so small and Africa, so large. Do you get a sense of proportion when you travel by water?
      I like globes too, but they give another sense of size and their relationship to each other.
      What did you actually consider about the size of the Mediterranean? I used to cross over (by way of ferry) to Gibraltar and it took hardly any time at all, yet on maps, it looks like it would take a lot more time. Some things in the world just seem like they are meant to confuse, huh?
      Thanks for getting my brain wheels started, again. LOL
      Take care, Sailor

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    2. When I was a youngster on my first ship, I thought the Med was huge. Then, when I got into the business of looking for submarines, I realized that, yeah, not so much. I also spent some time in the Persian Gulf. THAT particular body of water is tiny, by comparison.
      Whenever we'd leave the Med for the Atlantic, the ocean seemed so, so massive.

      Delete
  14. Thanks for coming to my blog a while back. I enjoyed reading this post and the one before, and the comments you get are also well worth reading – all very interesting. I went to Morocco only twice, and the last time was in the late 1990s, it was great. I also went to Algeria 3 times and Tunisia 4 – last time in Tunisia was 2010 I think, but I would not want to go back to Algeria now – it certainly is not safe as it was. It is true that it is getting harder to travel abroad. When I think that I came to the US from Paris in the 1960s, at 21 years of age, all alone, having no family here. I got a deal with the Greyhound – 3 months free traveling on the bus for $99 – I went to 23 states (and Canada!) And I had a great time, no hassle at all. I don’t think I would do that, alone, now.

    I think the young Muslims get a bad rap. During our last two times back home, to Paris, young Muslims men were the only ones to help me with my luggage going into the Metro – very nice and polite. Even in Brussels, same thing. I am horrified at so many Islamophobic attacks in this country (a country mostly made of descendant of immigrants.) It is fear I believe. I was pleased after the attacks in Paris at the Bataclan, last November, that the Parisians went en masse in the streets after it and had large posters saying “we are not afraid.” (I wrote a post about it http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2015/11/paris-les-larmes-de-marianne-tears-of.html.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vagabonde
      You ARE certainly a world traveler. You are a harbinger of worldliness and I assume your languages are perfection. I like to study other cultures but I'm really not a traveler. I much prefer to stay at home and look at foreign countries on this wonderful electronic stuff.

      What is going on now, does happen when people arrive in masses. It's like ..... when one person arrives at my house at dinner time, I can always scratch up something to feed one, but if 20 or 30 or more arrive at my house at dinner time, it's chaos for me and most likely, no dinner.

      Thank you for your wonderful comment. I've enjoyed your visit.

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. Thank you Blue.
      I'll take a bow. Baby, take a bow, as they used to say in the old vaudeville shows.I used to love vaudeville shows.... Jimmy Durante.....Fannie Brice.....corny jokes up the wazoo.
      Then they'd stop the show and ushers would come down the aisles and sell boxes of salt taffee but you always got a prize in the box..... some Chinky trinket. Whoops..... I'm not supposed to say that anymore but then how come some people still call me a kraut? The Donald and I can say what we want because of age and money. I've got the age and he's got the money.
      Thanks for the "elongated birthday wish." They're the best cause they last longer.
      See ya around.

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    2. Don't mention it. :) I love Jimmy Durante.

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  16. I just remembered you and my baby girl share the same special day. I'm here to wish you a super Happy Birthday!

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    Replies
    1. Happy birthday, Rosey's baby girl!

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    2. Dear Rosie
      I wonder how old that dear child is now. I last think of her being 16. Gully, she's an adult by now. Thanks Rosie...
      I love Birthday greetings.

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    3. Thanks, Blue and Manzanita. She's 17. And you're right, she's a young lady now, not much baby at all left in her, but I love to see the little bits of child still there, when they make an appearance. ;)

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  17. I have hitchhiked a time or to in my life and have been lucky enough to be picked up when stranded. Good thing I wasn't a serial killer!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Optimistic
      Jeepers, good thing is right. I'd hate to see a gentle man, such as yourself, turned into a serial killer. LOL But it's good to see you writing again and I would look forward to some of your stories about Germany.

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  18. Wow, fascinating. You have had some experiences.

    I think sometimes people recognize someone out of place and their humanity reacts. I picked up some German hitchhikers outside Yellowstone Part in 89. Something I would never do. I just saw them as a pair of kids who could get hurt.
    I gave them a kindly lecture as I dropped them off at the next point of their destination.

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    Replies
    1. Ann
      Thank you for visiting. I guess we've never popped in at each other's blogs before..... since we meet at Pat's. lol
      89 was still the fringe timeframe of when we picked up strangers without any fear. That year rings a bell because I still drive a 89 Nissan pickup as my summer gardening truck. It's so comforting to have an old pickup to haul my dirt and garden tools around. I often work in my daughters yard and gardens, too and I'm always hauling stuff around.

      That showed your kind spirit to pick up the German kids. I bet they recognized it as the act it was, too. I hope they found another kind human or they would have to go on a long "walkabout" on a dusty road in Montana. LOL

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