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Sunday, June 12, 2011

DAY 147; HAMMOND - ROBERT & US 190 EAST, LOUISIANA

Instead of leaving SPIA back in the secluded parking spot of the night, I moved her out onto US 190 where she could be seen by Police...who know we are here.

Came upon this sign early on our initial morning walk: Creative and probably effective.

Southern Baptist Church is dominant in this part of the World...

Ivy grows everywhere. Here is a creative and unique use of Ivy on an Estate Wall.

TANGIPAHOA RIVER, which in 18 miles South, empties into Lake Pontchartrain..

In spite of "No Swimming" signs along the highway, discovered these bathers enjoying the cool waters of the River.

A number of tents were up, bonfires burning, among bikini clad bodies.

I actually took these photographs on my way out from SPIA early in the morning. I continued walking for another hour before turning back. Nearing the River, I decided I would be bold and crash the party.

Standing 100 feet or so from the tents, I was hailed by a number of scantily clad guys and gals...want something cold to drink...want a coffee...come on over, we're just serving up burgers.

I accepted the coffee - although really wanted the ice water. Watched as a big guy put a hand full of coffee grounds in a pan of boiling water...few minutes later, handed me a cup of scalding trucker's coffee. How did you separate out the ground, I asked....Oh, just sprinkled a bit of cold water on top and all the ground sink to the bottom of the pot. WOW...someone who really knows how to make country coffee...hunting in the mountains for years, that is exactly how we did it.


Introduced all around, told the story of SAM & ME. We been coming to this Swimming Hole for over 10 years. Down around the bend are plenty of Gators, but never one up here...no snakes either.

You must see what Edwardo does: As a tall muscular young man tattoos covering mu;ch of his body shakes my hand...Edwardo...Hi, Bruce...I been jumping off things since I was 4 years old...this is worth seeing.

Edwardo swam over to the Railroad Bridge (not in use for MANY years), climbed the iron and steel structure all the way to the top girder. Climbed on top where he calmly walked out over the river, turned his back to the water, moved his feet so just toes gripped the girder, and from 75 feet in the air, performed a PERFECT Back Flip Swan Dive with twist into five feet of water.

I tried to get on video, but was NOT prepared for Edwardo's expertise. So, he dutifully climbed back up and repeated the whole thing again...again, my camera shut down as he flipped backward into space off the girder. I have tried to upload the video, but no go...I do think I must go back to GOOGLE (am using FIREFOX) to get it to work.

Edwardo on the Railroad Bridge Top Girder, setting up for his back flip dive into five feet of water from a height of about 75 feet.

A Group Photograph...Edwardo front right, holding the pooch - who actually took to me !! -

We all chatted and visited for over an hour on the sandy beach of the River.

Please say HELLO to "SKULL" and two of his Girls. They did not make the Group Photograph, so I tracked them down to their tent set back from the River. There are actually three gals, but one did not get in the pic. After taking the photograph, both girls walk away, leaving SKULL and I to ourselves. It was Skull who made the coffee for me. He apparently was not part of the "core" group.

You from around here, I asked. Well, yes and no. I been living along this river for the past 2 years, putting a few things back together.

I listened

Been in Prison for 26 years...for killing a man...and was released two years ago. 30 years ago, my Wife delivered twin girls. 27 years ago, at three years old, one of our twin daughters was raped. I confronted her rapist and I killed him. I have spent 26 years of my life in Prison for protecting the life of my three year old daughter. If it happened again today, I would kill him again.,

I waited

Then, a few days ago, my second twin daughter and my two grandchildren were killed in a car crash.

My spine froze stiff...this simply cannot be...only 4 days ago I heard the exact same story from my new-found friend, Ronnie, the Water Mellon Man...although it was Ronnie's Wife and two grandchildren who were killed...could it be ??

I took Skull's hand in both mine and squeezed. He squeezed my hand back, then changed the subject: Ever see these before, holding out his left wrist around which was a ivory appearing bracelet wrapped three times around.

NO

These are South African Tiger Bones, all cut exactly the same. On each surface I have hand cut a miniature Skull...turning the small 1/4" cube around for me to see. Every cube had a Skull engraved on each surface. I immediately recognized this art as the famous SCRIMSHAW work of ocean mariners of 4 hundred years ago. This bracelet was priceless.

You ever hear of 5150?

NO

This bracelet has 51 cubes on it. I created it sitting on the banks of this river...where I do all my art work - pointing to a neckless around his neck with more Scrimshaw. 666 is the Sign of the Devil. 5150 is the Sign of the Criminally Insane. I made this bracelet so I would never forget the 26 years I spent trying to protect my daughter.

I have a prized hat...want to see it?

Sure...as he walks over to the tent the girls came out of, bringing out a black Stetson-type hat, black with a white Skull embroidered on the left side. A member of the Hells Angels gave this hat to me...an original.

Please put it on...I'll take a photograph.

Skull did...I did.

I don't know what I'm going to do now I have lost my Daughter and Grandchildren. Grief was plainly written on Skull's face.

You know, Bruce, you are the only person I have allowed to photograph me in over 20 years. Last thing I want is my picture hidden away under the closed cover of some old scrap book. You are a "Traveler"; you are doing something good for a lot of people...taking them with you as you walk the World. Your coming down onto this River has changed me, too. You will not be forgotten. Please take my pictures and what we have talked about and do with them what you will. You are a good man; only good will come of it.

We were standing face to face in the sand, traffic rolling over the US 190 bridge over our heads...two old men looking for answers...We shook hands, put our arms around each others shoulders and a serious Man-To-Man HUG stopped the World for 30 seconds.

I wish you well, Skull...but he was already walking away back to the River...No Good Bye

I don't think Good Bye would have been appropriate.



Skull's 5150 Bracelet.

Skull wearing his Hells Angels Original Hat...the Peace Sign...and who the Hell drank my beer

As I walked back up onto US 190 and across the bridge, Skulls three Girls came flying up the river...one waving...

Something heavier than Louisiana Humidity was with me and would remain so forever.

DAILY REPORT: Walked 14 miles this morning...added 10 this afternoon

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 24 miles @ $0.02 = $0.44 for the day.

SPIA is still where I left her for my second walk...about 5 miles short of the US 190 turn South for the Gulf of Mexico.

I would make a lousy Nurse...could never avoid emotion for my patients.

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