“Tail Lights”

by kfrego

Rusty Wilson worked as a correction officer at Wallkill, NY while I was working at Green Haven. Rusty knew everybody in seven counties. Things were seldom quiet or boring when Rusty was around. He didn’t like to drive when he was drinking so he didn’t drive much. Rusty was everybody’s friend. We made a lot of trips from Wallkill to Lyon Mountain when our days off hit at the same time. I always did the driving and we always sipped a few cool ones along the way. The radio was always on and the more we drank the louder Rusty would sing. He was great company.

Rusty liked to stop and have a couple beers at Lake George during nice warm weather months. We’d pull into Lake George around nine at night and hang out a couple hours. We always ran into somebody Rusty knew. By the time we got back onto Interstate 87 it was usually foggy in the valleys and low areas going north. We had a system for driving through the fog that saved us a lot of time. The fog was often very heavy and you couldn’t see the pavement or markings on the road.

My full concentration was required to look out the forward portion of the door window at the illuminated broken lines on the pavement. I couldn’t see the lines over the hood, but it was very bright from the headlight reflection beside the car. While concentrating on the lines it was near impossible for me to see any traffic ahead of us. That was Rusty’s job. Rusty would watch straight ahead while sipping his beer and singing along with the radio. When Rusty hollered “tail lights” I would pull to the left lane, pass the car, and pull back over to the right lane. Traffic was normally pretty light and Rusty didn’t have to holler much. When we were in the left lane it was very hard to follow the continuous solid line. It was hard to discern the real line from the reflections. The intermittent broken lines came fast enough to keep us oriented as we buzzed through the fog ten miles over the speed limit in the right lane.

We learned how to handle driving in the fog………………but we enjoyed seeing the moonlight and stars too.