We were just getting the tent ready to occupy, when a couple of our coworkers came up and demanded, “What do you think your going? You cannot stay here at night.” We asked, “Why not?” An answer came quickly, “There is a fence around this grove and they will soon release guard dogs that patrol in here at night. You don’t want to get caught by them. They are vicious.” We asked where they stayed. Apparently the grove owner also owned a run down motel where he rented rooms to his pickers. When we heard the cost of staying there we became disenchanted. We barely made enough to take back home. It did not make sense to trade wages we needed to support our commune for a sleazy hotel. We decided to leave. By now it was dark, and chances of four of us hitching together, landing a ride seemed unlikely.
Nearby, a convenience store provided us with provisions and a phone. I called my sister’s house, hoping for rescue. Her husband, David, offered to come get us. We loitered in the parking lot, offering an excuse to the Marion County Police officer, who checked us out that we had no where else to wait for our ride. We showed him a check stub that proved we worked that day picking oranges. He told us he would check back in an hour and expected us to be gone. If not, a threat that we would spend the night in Ocala City jail loomed. Before he had a chance to return, David’s car swung into a parking place, he emerged, plunked a bottle of whiskey on top of his car and asked, “ Are you the guys who are looking for a ride to my party?” After our day’s travails we passed on the party, but accepted a ride back to his house. He graciously offered us camping space in his living room and we enjoyed a comfortable rest after our brief career as orange pickers.