College Life: Day One – Hippies Do Not Eat People, Audrey

Our family vehicle was full of my life’s possessions and it had been driven for over five hours by my father. We were cruising down the interstate talking, and car shopping. All the important father daughter conversations being prompted by anything found beside the road. I was trying pretty hard to make it a memorable trip. This was our last weekend together living as a family. It was fun, well until we ran out of gas.

“What happened? This is a brand new truck! It must be a computer chip!” he’d said

I remember him turning and looking at me confused, possibly bewildered, if a cowboy can feel that way. He and I looked at each other at about the same time and realized what we’d done. We’d forgotten to fuel up after lunch. The day had been a bit distracting, I’m quite sure, and we returned to the interstate without the fuel we’d known was needed in order to make it all the way into the city. The city that was to be my new home. 

We’d also been new car shopping as we travelled towards my new life in the big city. I was getting a new car. Can you imagine how distracting that day was for us? We’d not found my car yet at this point in our trip. I was beginning to worry we’d never find the right car. I’m sure it had something to do with color, doesn’t it always?

The weekend before, while in Denver car shopping, we’d left the strand of car lots with me upset. Rows and rows of cars and I wasn’t happy with any of them. Not the ones I could afford anyway.

“Audrey, you have Champagne taste on a Budweiser budget.”

“I had no idea it was a Porsche, Dad.” I’d admitted. I had a lot to learn about cars and the prestige that came along with them. I liked the fact that the car was so unusual looking. I liked unusual. I needed a breather after being left disappointed. It wasn’t that I was a spoiled brat. I understood that I couldn’t have the expensive car, but I needed time to reevaluate and forget the car existed. No car, in all of Denver, had the ability to make me forget the 1994 Porsche 911 Turbo. Come on, it was used…

I know, stupid girl. I had a lot to learn.

This was our last weekend of car shopping, so we were all a bit on edge. Shocking that we’d forgotten gas for the family truck, don’t you think?

“So much for the laughs. What are we gonna do, Dad?”

“Well, it seems I’ll be walking. Town can’t be much further up the road.”

What none of you realize is that this daughter wasn’t allowing anyone to walk into the city alone, not even her brave father. Dad started out of the truck and I quickly followed him. Yes, even then I was a bit of a scardy cat. There was no way I was staying here on the side of the road, even if my sisters and stepmother were in the car. I wasn’t going to allow my father to go missing, not on my watch. If he was headed towards the missing ads then so was I.

We were parked just outside a city of over 60,000 people. For a farm girl, this was huge. God only knows what could happen, to either one of us. This coming from a girl who now lives with her closest 4 million friends, what did I know back then.

Less than a block up the interstate we had someone willing to help. A man pulled up in his shiny Volvo.

“Old Hippie,” his bumper sticker said.


I should explain that as a 20-year-old small town girl, I truly believed it. Dad wasn’t the least bit phased. I hadn’t yet realized, in my apparently simple brain, that my father’s brother was an old hippie. I blame the fact that my inability to notice details had kept me from realizing that I had been living around Hippies most of my life.

I still saw people for what they were on the outside instead of noticing who they were on the inside, as well. A farmer driving a tractor was a farmer, right? The idea of people having layers comes to mind. Very little life experience had truly shown itself. Hence, the reason I started watching small details about the people around me. I never wanted to misjudge someone again.

This very nice man took us to a gas station. He even had a gas can in the back that Dad accepted and borrowed. I recall a lot of small talk, something about what I was majoring in and about how much I’d love continuing college life here. I talk when I’m nervous. Dad just sat back and listened. He always did.

Mostly, I remember sitting in the back seat planning our escape if this free lovin’ maniac decided to eat us inside his pristine car.

I know, right! I was a bit of scardy cat back then, I agree.

Life had so much to teach me. I was a blank slate. My father thanked the man for the drive to town and for the use of his gas can. Dad even offered him money for his time and fuel. For your troubles, or something like that, was said.

The man declined the wad of cash, “No thanks, I believe in Karma.”

“Thanks again and have a great day,” my dad offered to the man just before he drove away.

My father and I instantly looked at each other and I laughed. I couldn’t help but have an instant reaction of “We got outta there just in time!”

Dad just shook his head at me and went on replacing the gas cap. He understood and had for years probably tried to teach me about seeing the good in all people. Unfortunately, I was stubborn and would only learn the lesson when I was ready.

I had a lot to learn about life, people and reality. Honestly, heaven forbid the man tried to teach me what goes around comes around. I do believe this was my first encounter with the notion that a good action created good karma, as does good intent and a bad action created bad karma, as does bad intent, or something like that. Eventually, this experience helped me to realize that Accounting wasn’t for me after all. Studying Philosophy and Religions was what I’d really wanted and should have done in the end.

The idea of cause and effect, well let’s just say I was about to learn all about it at city college.

Oh! Yes, we found a car. No, it wasn’t a Porsche.


30 thoughts on “College Life: Day One – Hippies Do Not Eat People, Audrey

  1. …but you have learned so very well, Audrey Dawn and I am absolutely positive about that. How am I so sure??? Because I’m an ‘old hippie’ (at least at heart) that you know very well… and you’ve always treated me with ‘good intent’… and never shown any fear of being eaten… well… maybe just that one time…


  2. I love this story, Audrey, not the least because you wouldn’t let your Dad walk alone. It took me until this present age to realize that sending one person off to ‘protect’ me was not a good idea. If he didn’t return, my future would never be the same. I might as well go with or instead of.


  3. Great story. Looking for the good in people and not judging people based on how they appear is something that I’m always working on. For example, every now and then, I will meet someone who does something especially kind, is overly friendly or has an impressive knowledge of a certain topic. And it will surprise me. And then I ask myself, why was it so surprising? Usually, because I had some preconceived notion about the person without really knowing anything about them.

    Love that you fell in love with the Porsche, without knowing it was a Porsche. My first car was my mom’s old ’84 Chevy Cavalier. It was actually a great car and ran fine until my boyfriend totaled it. Oops.


  4. Hi audrey, this reminds me of my Dad. He always saw the good in everyone. My first car wasn’t a champagne model either. Just as well, since I didn’t know about checking the oil and burned the engine up.


  5. I love your stories. This one was great as usual. “Small talk” and I thought it was your dad doing the talking 😀 😀 😀 . Ah, yes…Toyota…my first non-hand-me-down car and one of the best running cars I have ever owned. Four million friends… and counting, I’m sure. Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it today!!! – Amy 😀


  6. “Audrey, you have Champagne taste on a Budweiser budget.”

    This line cracked me up 😆

    Great mastery of the written word. Full of the humour and warmth that I’ve come to love and expect from you, Audrey.

    Heather xxx


  7. I was OBSESSED with Porsche’s when I was a teen and then in my early twenties when I finally had the opportunity to buy one I didn’t….weird how life changes what we like and care about……


  8. Oh what a sweet experience!

    I wanted a Jaguar XKE, as if I could have driven that kind of a ride. Knew I’d never get it but it did set up my dad for the knowledge that he probably shouldn’t get me an old lady Chevy. He did come home with a white convertible Pontiac Le Mans Firebird (it had all those names!) with a red leather interior. My mom stood on the curb and said, “I’m not happy with it,” but I was thrilled. There’s more to the story and maybe I’ll tell it later.

    I bet this post reminds everyone of their very first ride. I can see you out there, walking with your dad, his protector against the big world, and meeting your very first hippie who wasn’t a hippie at all. You grew up but what I love about you is that you’ve retained your little girl wonder about the world.

    Thanks for a charming story.


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