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The hitchhiker diaries: Homeless youth; Lazarus come lately; Seoul survivor

The hitchhiker diaries: Homeless youth; Lazarus come lately; Seoul survivor

More tales gleaned from the roadsides of Diné Bikeyah: A life in strange cars

I’m one of those homeless youth you hear about.

Most of my life is spent riding in strangers’ cars.

I’m coming from my dad’s house. I stay with him until he gets drunk and kicks me out. Then I stay with my mom until she gets drunk and kicks me out. I’m heading to my aunt’s house now. She doesn’t want me either, but I know if I show up at her door she won’t turn me away.

I have a couple of girlfriends, but I don’t like to stay with them. I have a baby with one of them. She’s always asking me for money for food and diapers for the baby. How can I get a job if I don’t even have a home?

I try not to think about the future. It’s too depressing. I just start every day wondering where I’m going to sleep and what I’m going to eat.

Sometimes I feel like some kind of animal.

Resurrection man

I have death certificates from four different states.

Every time I get in a car wreck, my heart stops. They think I’m dead and then I surprise everybody by waking up.

One time in Farmington, I woke up to see my dad standing over me, crying. I realized I was in the morgue! I had a toe tag and everything. They had called my dad to identify the body.

Every time it happens — every time — I’m with a woman. If I could stay away from women, I wouldn’t have to die so often.

Happy birthday

Thank you for picking me up. It’s my birthday. I turned 83 today.

I’m headed to the post office. Pay day for serviceman!

You don’t have to talk to me. I can’t hear out of my left ear. Ever since Korea. I was running for a foxhole. It was about 30 feet away when I saw something drop from the sky.

I woke up in the hospital. My jaw was wired shut and I couldn’t hear out of my left ear. My jaw got better but I still can’t hear.

I don’t complain. A lot of older people, they spend their days complaining about today. As for me, I think today is all right.

You see this nice road we’re on? It wasn’t here when I was small. No roads, no school. If you were a man, you went to the military. If you were a girl, you stayed home with the sheep.

My kids, they’re all in different places. Some are going to school. Some have different jobs that they like.

My wife still works. I get my check in the mail.

So to me, today is not so bad.

Thank you for listening to me. I wish I could hear you too.


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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth was the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation, until her retirement on May 31, 2021. Her other beats included agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.”

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