Thursday, April 11, 2013
POST 1093; APRIL 8, 9, & 10, 2013; KEYSVILLE, VA
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Before continuing, I wish to give my deepest thanks to Pastor Warren and the Jackson, N.C. Baptist Church members for receiving me and filling my pocket with over $100.00...
My entire 3 year walk has been financed by my Social Security $$ - plus life-saving donation(s) from family. My purpose in walking is to encourage "old" folks to get off the couch, fill their minds and bodies with positive thoughts/actions, and LIVE as we did 50 years ago...and to do so with the meagerest of funds.
There are times when I simply do run out of $$. My dearest friend Karen Estey of Columbia, N.C. added a PAY PAL "Donations" button to my blog. Receiving donations such as from Pastor Warren has opened my eyes to the reality that many I meet wish to help me on my way...and simply put, I sometimes do need a $$ push now and again...sure is nice to rest in a comfy motel bed instead of on the patio, back porch, or my tent in the back 40.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I could go on as to how much my walk has improved from recent donations...all of which are used for food or lodging along my way. I am a "giver"...has never been easy for me to "receive", and these words do not come easy.
Welcome to the State of Virginia.
As we go forward, we approach the mountains of the Allegheny...some of the steepest roadways...as well as most historic and beautiful vistas - AND PEOPLE -, many of whom are becoming my new friends.
This image is the face in a massive naturally grown tree. The coloration is from nature. Simply could not resist sharing it here.
Virginia has many magnificent palatial homes...often enhanced by manicured grounds, including lakes and waterways.
Welcome to downtown LAWRENCEVILLE, Virginia...an old historic place...but with, regrettably, nearly 1/2 of available commercial shops closed and locked up tight...an increasing stigma of towns across America...being left behind by "progress" and the pumping of our precious tax $$ into fewer and fewer hands...not to mention trillions spread like a spinning hurricane to countless nations thousands of miles from our own shores.
People in middle America are hurting...no, not true. People in middle America are dying along with their historic towns. I have found that I must first help my body and mind as I walk America...before I can help those in need who invite me into their crushed lives, sharing what little they may have.
Our leaders may be well served by considering such a fact.
The Cruiser of Officer Moody.
Arriving in Lawrenceville, Virginia, it was late in the day; being no motel available, I, at the insistence of the Manager of the local DOLLAR GENERAL, telephoned the local Sheriff Office, asking for assistance to find a place to sleep for the night. Officer Moody was at my side within 10 minutes, closely followed by the Mayor, Mayor POND.
It was Mayor Pond who took me LITERALLY by the hand, found me a special spot within the Municipal Building (see below), bought me a delicious dinner, and had his Police Officer check on me many times during the night.
Lawrenceville Municipal Building.
This, my friends is a community at work. Trust, such as this - and also, by the way by Pastor Warren, who gave me the same privileges at his church -, is a sign that the heart of America is well. A pity that priorities on high do not respect our people, as are so many, thousands of miles from our shores
Please say HELLO to a very special young lady...KAYLA.
Enjoying Mayor Pond's gifted dinner, Kayla and I had the opportunity to chat for nearly two hours...when she was not pulled to other diners hoping for a moment of her time.
I departed the downtown restaurant with a final plea from Kayla that I stay one more night in Lawrenceville so we could share more time. I owe you, Kayla, my most sincere apology. As with Tammy a couple days ago...and with so many more new friends, parting is like "receiving"...a most difficult moment...especially when I wish fervently to stay with you a bit longer.
Lawrenceville Court House, sacked by Union Troop during the Civil War.
Please say HELLO to (l. to r.) GWEN, her fab Son, and SANDY.
Temperatures at near 100 f., and I being very tired pushing SAM up and down the increasingly difficult hills, I stopped for a moment to ask for a glass of ice water (warm drinking water simply does nothing to quench thirst on very hot days when the body is working at over 100 percent).
No only did I receive two cups of ICE, but also three bottles of ice water.
I promptly plopped down beside their seats, leaned back to drink many cups of iced water, and remained for nearly one hour chatting...also, entertaining the young man...who had a length of plastic pipe, banged it on the ground and throwing it around. I asked him to put his hand at one end...in the other end I poured some ice water from my cup. The little guy was shocked and broke out laughing when the cold water flowed into his hand...he had no idea what a pipe was for and pestered the ladies to play that game with him some more. He and I learned a couple more things too, before I said goodbye and continued on my way...
but, not before...
Please say HELLO to JONES...grandfather of the young man...who was a combat veteran with me in the Korean War over a half century ago.
Yes, it is so very difficult to say goodbye...
Southern...but not so comfy.
Locals tell me that a generation ago, all sorts of folks kept animals of all kinds, grew lots of tobacco. These days, no farm animals are to be found around the many old historic homes as above...indeed, the folks themselves are also mostly gone...replaced by mega farms growing Angus Beef, or cotton.
Another moment to reflect on the changing middle America.
Highway 40...no place for SAM & ME to walk, except on the pavement. Over 100 trucks - 18 wheelers_ roared past on the narrow 10 foot wide lanes. Each passing truck forced SAM & ME completely off the highway, where, for our safety, STOPPED in our tracks while the trucks roared past.
Dangerous and annoying when we were struggling in the heat, wind, and long distance yet to go before darkness closed over us.
Most Crossers Of America do so with a team...almost never alone as I have done from the beginning. The teams follow along with vehicles loaded with iced drinks, snacks, convenient protected places to rest, knowing their lead team members are out a few miles arranging dinner and a place to stay the night.
SAM & ME are alone...no support team...no sponsor(s)...no waiting dinners..no waiting overnight accommodations...and I have been immensely proud to do it our way.
This past week has brought three Newspaper Interviews...an unusual occurrence...I am so pleased our efforts are beginning to be noticed...at this moment abut 500 readers from many foreign nations read these words and see these photographs...yes, I love to give, and hope SAM & ME will continue.
I am most embarrassed. This gentleman stopped SAM & ME to find what we were about. He listened...we chatted a bit...then he handed me $40.00..."..to help you find a comfortable place for the night..."
He told me his name two times...and in my oblivion, I could not associate it...and therefore cannot introduce him.
For this image, I have nothing but total embarrassment. In the town of KENBRIDGE, I stopped in at the most highly recommended MILDRED'S Restaurant for a bite...broiled trout with Corn Pudding as the side...YUM.
This young lady was also a diner. Standing at the counter to pay my tab, this lovely lady stood, introduced herself - and her dining partner - neither of whom I can remember names. She asked me if we could share photographs...of course...as I snapped the above pic, she quipped in the crowded room..."..and I even have my shirt on.."...which led to the next pic...
..."I graduate from Nursing School next week...", so she and I shared hugs...perhaps for being in a crowded restaurant, a bit too many and too intimate hugs for the time and place.
In Kenbridge, I checked into a motel. It was a disaster.
The welcome morning brought the above sunrise.
Old design water tower...every town / village has a water tower.
Water tower of a more recent era.
Highway 40...beautiful to walk...dangerous to walk...grateful to share it.
Please say HELLO to JUDY.
Judy and her husband have been proprietors of this small country store since 1974...We shared comfy chairs while I downed my ARIZONA Ice Teas (two of 'em) and chatted for over a half hour.
TANNER'S GROCERY, where Judy and Hubby spend their days..."...please convince my husband to get out and start walking..." Judy pleaded...
I'm out here to observe...I try not to change America...just share it at 4 miles per hour with the world.
Picturesque...but oh so difficult to push SAM on a hot day up and down serpentine hills...the bloody serpents are getting bigger !
Our destination has been achieved...25 miles in 8 hours...dismally slow, but oh, so rewarding!
Please say HELLO to AVERETT JONES,Jjanitor and Editor of the SOUTHSIDE MESSENGER...the youngest newspaper in America...began only 9 years ago...given at the time 90 days till succumbing and disappearing.
Averett interviewed me for an article in his newspaper...to appear on the net in a couple days or so.
Averett's secret to success: all my life I have read newspapers!
So bushed, could not hold the camera steady as Ole Sol slipped behind the distant Allegheny Mountains...ending another day for SAM & ME.
Tomorrow, we will be challenged by torturous hills as we approach the city of ROANOKE, following which we enter the dreaded 8% 5-mile long hills (three sets of them), crossing West Virginia.
Two weeks should find SAM & ME crossing the Ohio River...provided we get that far...
Last evening, promised to try to put this update together later. Well, I began sorting over 100 photographs, editing, arranging the story line, posting images in selected sequence, then narrating the entire effort. I began at 3:00 am (in the wee morning hours). It is now 8:00 am...taking me 5 hours to prepare and publish this offering.
I truly hope you enjoy...I surely do; 8 hours on the road...5 hours at the computer....only a crazy old man could put in such a day...day after day...after day...after day...for three years...with no end in sight.