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Ralph, he told me his name was 'Ralph' started talking in Memphis and was still talking when I got off the bus in Knoxville. That's about 4 hours in cartime, but about 8 in Greyhound time. A long time for any one person to be talking, and even longer when that person is a stranger who has more hair in his ears than most primates.

I used to travel a lot by myself-like you. Yep, I was young once, like you. Would travel all the damn time whenever I felt like it. Train, bus whatever. Hitchhiked to Denver once to get a job with a phone company and I lasted a week. A week! I tell you what, that was some trip. You ever been to Denver? Gets cold there in the winter. I mean serious cold. Not like that wimpy stuff 'round here. I don't mean no 32 degree nonsense-No Sir! I am talking real cold- minus 30 and a wind that would freeze your eyelids shut. I kidyounot.

I went overseas once too, you ever do that? 'didn't think so. Didn't serve, did ya? I guess not. Well, I was over there after the war-you know the REAL war WW II and I took one of them Rail passes and went all the way down to Italy. That was some trip- a damn site nicer than this bus. -and women? Oh my goodness, you never saw such women. Long legs and dresses that wrapped around them like waves of flowers. I still dream about some of those girls-Tennessee looked pretty tame after that, I tell you what.

I was a logger for awhile, did I tell you that? Look at my hands-see those black lines? Yep, splinters. Some of them never come out. That's a fact. What sort of hands you got? 'figured. You work behind a desk, right? Well, like I said you need to get out to Seattle-the Great Northwest-yep that's the place. You like crab? They got some crab-yes they do. I used to go to all them places. Me and my wife. She's gone now, course. She wouldn't let a damn fool like me on one of these buses were she still alive-God bless her soul-but that's all right. I got a person to talk to, don't I?

You ever try and talk to one of them deaf/mutes?

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