18 and ready to 'route 66' all the way 'cross the States. Dennis and I managed to borrow my parents new car - my father had deep reservations, very well founded as it turned out - and set off on a coming of age journey. It was 1969, and the way we looked and wore our hair still wasn't accepted by mainstream America . . . we got as far as Texas before trouble started. Stopped at a red light, a 'good ole boy' signaled for us to roll down a window. Not quite getting what was about to happen we did. He managed to punch Dennis in the face twice before I was able to run the stop light.
A day later we pull into my uncle Oscar's driveway. This is San Antonio, in the countryside, in the summer - 120 degrees in the shade. He makes and serves us a delicious rum based drink, sets us down and asks: "My sis tells me you're travelin' to New York, so let me see your guns, boys." Didn't know what to say. "No, I'm serious boys, what ya packing? Can't go to New York looking like you both do and not have some fallback. Here - and he pulled out a 38 - something like this'll do." Well, we almost drove home that evening. He ended up giving a few good tips for locking your motel door so no one could sneak in and admitting that my mom had asked him to scare us. She knew we were both middle-class and had absolutely no street smarts. Boy was she right! I'll explain further next time.