…the day before Christmas 1970 I find myself (alone and palely loitering) on a highway in Rocky Mt. NC, which then was but a pit stop (where all the sedge had withered from the lake and no birds sing) and where to my chagrin I noted as I passed through town – hitch hiking mind you – o what can ail thee knight-in-arms - trying to get a ride to New York City and back in my taxi cab; meanwhile I’m a rookie cop’s dream come true because I’m stranded after my car broke down and freighted with a suitcase full of evidence to burn…needless to say I’m more than a little nervous, but it was a living and somebody had to do it.
…I’m a bearded, long-haired hippy freak so I keep walking and walking and as I get closer to town there’s a billboard on my left, big sucker, 15 feet high 30 feet long and on it a KKK klansman on a white stallion rearing into the air as the klansman held a burning cross aloft, and above the whole thing in two-foot high letters was written -
“YOU ARE NOW ENTERING KLAN COUNTRY! BEWARE!”
…O man do I need this, I gotta get out of here - out of North Carolina - so I cross over to a Greyhound station and ask the guy how much for a ticket to NYC and he says 40 bucks and I said well look I only got 24 dollars how far will that get me…he looked at me and said, ‘That’ll get you to Richmond…’ the kindly ole gent looked again, ‘’Y’all don’t want to be hanging around here son, better catch the next bus to Richmond and I got a ticket here that somebody left behind and it’s from Richmond to NYC, so get on that bus and, not to be rude dude, get gone ‘fore y’all get hurt.”
In some things I’m a quick study so I immediately jumped on the dog and we left…