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  • It was the eve of May Day 1971 and students across the country were making their way to big anti-war and anti-Nixon demonstrations. Some of my friends had left the day before enroute to the big one in Washington D.C. My roommate Irvin and I began hitchhiking from Evanston to Madison, Wisconsin.

    We were standing along the highway about 15 miles north of our campus after ride number one, when a car pulled off the road for us about 30 yards ahead. As we ran up to the four door sedan, we saw a very enthusiastic, driver in aviator sunglasses. He was pounding on his steering wheel exclaiming, “Dig on it, dig on it, dig on it!” I got in the passenger seat and Irvin got in back.

    Our driver was probably about 25 years old, well dressed, with his sports jacket draped across the top of the front seat between us. We told him we were headed up to Madison for the May Day demonstrations and he said, “Far out, that’s perfect.” He pulled back onto the highway and we were off. He told us that he was coming from California where he’d bought 2000 hits of pure LSD made at the San Doz labs…..from Kesey himself. He invited us to reach into the inside pocket of his sports jacket and pull out a bag. Irvin pulled out a clear baggy full of white powder. He said the rest was in his trunk, but this was his “tasting” bag. He encouraged us to stick a finger in and take a lick.
    He seemed like the real deal. What did we know? Two 18 year-olds trusting in just about anything connected to the Counterculture. We each took a lick. About an hour later, just as we were coming on to the acid, he wished us a great time in Madison and announced that he was heading East. We were in Milwaukee when he suddenly pulled off along the highway, just as he’d picked us up. As quick as he’d come into our lives, he was gone forever. Dig on it!

    We stuck out our thumbs and compared some notes on the beginnings of this trip. It seemed like a mellow takeoff. Just then a police car pulled off the road alongside of us and turned on its iridescent blue and red swirling lights as though the cop wanted to give us a show. He asked for our id’s and told us to get into the back of the car. A second police car had already pulled over to join us. Irvin and I sat quietly while they called in our names over the radio. The lights were just incredible insisting on a competing presence than the one I kept reminding myself to give to the officer.
    Holding our licenses and looking back over the seat, the cop regarded our shaggy heads and asked, “Are you boys radicals?”

    “No sir” we answered in perfect unanimity though totally unrehearsed.
    “Are you headed up to Madison?” he asked.

    “Yes sir,” Irvin answered. “We’re just visiting friends.”

    There was some silence while he waited for his report. I was so glad that in the picture on my license my hair was much shorter. He asked if we’d seen the sign that said hitch hiking was prohibited on the highway. We hadn’t - as the sign was along the on-ramp and we’d been let out along the road. The cop was an older guy with some gray in his hair. He might even have had a kid in Madison.
    When the report came in with no outstanding warrants, he said, “All right boys, I’m going to ride you down to the next exit and you can hitch hike on the on-ramp.”

    “Yes sir.” chimed the young revolutionaries.

    Before long we got to Madison and enjoyed time-free hours walking in and out of places on the campus on a beautiful Spring night. I don’t remember a thing about the May Day demonstration the next day. A number of my political actions in those years got obscured by an altered consciousness. You just never knew what was going to cross your path and lead you somewhere unexpected.
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