Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paisley, Illustration Friday

I've been on a trip to nowhere, man...For the past few months, Illustration Friday's word challenges have gone unmet by yours truly. But this week's word, paisley, prompts me to tell the story about the time we were returning from a trip to San Francisco, during the height of the hippie era.
My parents were as straight as arrows, but my dad had a sense of adventure that meandered as far as his imagination could take him, maybe farther. Anyway, our family was packed in an early 60's Ford truck with a camper, heading back to Southern California, when my dad decided to give a couple of hitchhikers a ride. The details of how they met are somewhat fuzzy, but they rode all the way home with us, at least 7 hours or so. I'm sure my dad was happy to have the extra passengers to talk with, because once we arrived home in Orange County, he continued to keep them awake, projecting his collection of slides gathered from adventures in Hawaii accompanied by his usual detailed verbal descriptions. One hitchhiker, a young artist named Felicia, sat patiently with me, coloring in my coloring books during the long night and sharing her set of oil pastels with me, which she let me keep. When my dad reported to work that next morning, my mom drove our two guests to the freeway on ramp, where they waited for their next ride to San Diego.
Many years later, I have to laugh at the difference in attitudes towards hippies and hitchhikers, while hoping the two friends made it safely to their destination. I wonder who was more unnerved by the whole experience, my mom or the hitchhikers! And like I said, many of the details of this story have slowly faded, like my mom insisting they had a dog, and how I decided many years later that they relate to the word, paisley. But I'll always remember my parents' willingness to help a couple of travelers, a young artist named Felicia and how simple gestures of sharing inspired many pictures and quiet fascination with many things off the beaten path.