Many years ago, driving down Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles I saw an old man hitchhiking. He must have been about 80, and I was 23. I pulled over and asked him if he needed a lift. He said that would be great, that he had a date with some foxy broad at this home for assisted living on Rossmore.
We drove away in silence. Then he said “Bet you don’t think an 80 year old man can stimulate you, do you?” He started humming the theme from The Wizard Of Oz. The part where the witch is flying through the sky. He said he wrote the music to that song, along with many others. That was weird because a few days prior I had finally met my next door neighbor. She was this quiet, morbidly obese woman. The curtains to her windows were always drawn. She never left the house and no one had ever spoken to her as far as I knew. I had decided to knock on her door and say hi. She let me in and after polite conversation she led me to a dark dingy closet where she kept her treasures. She pulled out a box and told me to open it. It was a witch’s hat, similar to one I had worn for Halloween when I was 5. She told me it was the original witch’s hat for the movie The Wizard of Oz. I couldn’t believe this woman who never left her house was holding such a treasure. I thanked her for letting me see it and then I hightailed it out of there, feeling a gag reflex from some uncomfortable smell emanating from the bedroom. So, cut forward to this 80 year old swinger sitting next to me in the car, humming the theme song to the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz. And he wrote it! Suddenly I felt I was giving the King of hollywood a ride home. The real king. The one that dreamed this whole thing up. We arrived at his destination and he thanked me for the ride. As he got out of the car I said “wait! If you could leave this world with just one sentence of wisdom to bestow on those still here, what would you say?” He looked at me long and hard, and pierced his eyes into the back of my skull. He whispered…………………………………………………….”always always be honest.” Then he winked and was gone.
I came home and in rushed excitement told the story to my roommate. He was flabbergasted and said “that’s what he said? You met the man who wrote the music to the Wizard of Oz and he told you to always be honest?” I said “yep!” He looked at me, took a deep breath, and said “TRACEY! I’m gay! God it feels so good to say! I’m gay!!!”
Years later, the old man’s voice came to me again, June 21, 2016, summer solstice. Just a whisper to “always be honest.”