Adam Jones during WQUA days
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The Ballad of the Bum Trip - Part Eight
Agnes Was All Wet!

Meanwhile, back in Richmond, Hurricane Agnes had backed up on the Charles River and become Tropical Storm Agnes. It had already done a huge amount of damage in the Richmond area. (Dale was doing news reports by phone back to WOWO in Ft. Wayne.) The storm stalled over much of the east; it was a huge storm that stretched all the way back to Ohio. Boy oh boy, did it rain.

We were on the PA Turnpike and the water was getting so deep that Bruno the Buick was starting to gargle, then we saw a state trooper waving everyone off at the next exit. They were closing the turnpike! And it would stay closed for two or three days as it rained non-stop. As we pulled off at the Somerset exit, we almost hit a dog that was doing the people paddle. What with the car sounding like World War III, we couldn't go far from the turnpike, so we drove into the Broken Neon Motel (buzz buzz buzz.) The woman at the desk had a cigarette in her mouth and was wearing a housecoat that looked like a Cincinnati Bengals helmet. She said they had two rooms left. Larry and I opted for the one farthest away from the sign.

We took our bags up the wooden porch stairs and decided not to leave Albert the Alligator under the car lest he float away, so we put him on the porch outside the screen door to our room (which had the look and feel of the movie "Key Largo.") Even though it was raining hard, it was hot, and of course there was no air conditioning. There was a black and white TV, a 12-incher, but we were out of quarters. It was so hot in our room that we sat in our underwear in front of the screen door, listening to a ballgame on KDKA radio. Thank goodness there was a little breeze. After awhile we heard some noise at the bottom of the stairs, then we heard footsteps. Then a woman's head appeared. When she spotted Albert in all his slimy glory, she let out a sound that was loud and strange! Larry went out on the porch and said, "SHHH! You'll wake up the alligator." Well she turned around, ran down the stairs and told her husband, "We're leaving!"

Other than a few phone reports to WQUA news from a drippy phone booth that is pretty much the Ballad of the Bum Trip. When it stopped raining we drove home. We pulled up in my drive and Debra, who was house-sitting, came out (we weren't married yet.) When she heard all the noise, she met Albert then Larry went home to East Moline (later he told me that just as he pulled into his driveway Bruno's brakes gave out.) Oh yes - Larry told me that he took Albert to a pool hall in East Moline where he lived happily ever after.

As my little two-year-old grandson Charlie would say . . . THE END!

- Adam Jones

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