Ya want to know something I find a little crazy…. Through most of my 20’s I only slept about 4-5 hours a night and I loved it. But since I’ve been back for the winter I have slept up to 9 hours. Ok, that’s an exaggeration. It’s more like almost 8 hours. Haha. I wake up around 6 or 7 no matter what time I go to bed. Ok, that’s not true either. I can sleep in till about 8 or even 9 if I go to bed past 2 in the morning. Making it to 9 in the morning I feel like I have slept the whole day away. And that kind of leads me to my story…
First a few little facts.
Everyone told me that the state of Kansas would be the worst to walk through. However that was not my experience. I loved it. Believe it or not, there is a town about every 10 to 15 miles. Ok town is strong language. It was mostly like a few houses and a grain silo, post office maybe a gas station. Maybe. Nonetheless, there was something. A few times there was a gas station that clearly had been shut down years ago, but it had a working soda machine out front. Haha. Thinking back on this… I remember walking into a small, small, SMALL town late at night and seeing the glow of a lit up soda machine. There was an emotional reaction that went on inside of me.
Ok, this may sound so crazy. When I was 15 my parents sent me to a desert program thing for “troubled and at risk kids” (to this day I still don’t know what those terms mean AND I hate that label). It was called called Treks. It was so sucky. Just about the craziest time of my life. The other boys there were soooo messed up. The counselors messed with your head. I remember them trying to break us. Get us to cry. Yelling and cussing at us. It was scary. One night after some crazy emotion and mental manipulation I laid out in the desert in my sleeping bag and I had to make a decision. Beat this or let it beat me. I made a decision that I was the only person I could trust. I do remember my faith in that moment, but I didn’t know how to use it. I didn’t know how to look to God for strength … so I made a plan. It’s only 3 years till I’m 18 and then I’m free. In my mind it was jail. And I wasn’t going to let them take any more from me then they already had. I would make it out of this indestructible.
Anyways, after the desert program I was being transported to a boy’s ranch in Clarkfork, ID called Elk Mountain Academy. On the way there we drove through my hometown: Spokane, Washington. As you drive into Spokane from the west on hwy I90 you come into town from the top of a hill and you get a great view of Spokane. There is was HOME. My eyes welled up with tears. I couldn’t believe how much I loved this city. How it had made me feel safe and joy and I realized right then for the first time that is will always be my home.
No I know this sound crazy, but as I walked up to that soda machine in the middle of Kansas I almost had that same kind of feeling. Like the soda or the machine gave me some kind of deep emotional comfort.
Ok, that was a bit of a tangent…
So instead of a few facts I just give you that one… For now.
Ok back to my story… oh ya I don’t sleep a lot. But in this story that is a really good thing and here’s why.
As you come into Denver, CO on hwy 74 there is a town called Golden, CO. LeeRoy and I had just walked 16 miles on a back road called old hwy 40 that followed hwy 70. We spent all day walking. Like always at about 5 I started looking for a place to set up my tent. I had found what looked like an apartment development area. It was right on the edge of a hill I could see Golden, CO. I had thought I better stop here for the night. I didn’t want to get too deep into the city and not find a place to sleep. Let me paint you a picture. As you look north you can see a Golden and some kind of small factory and what looked like the night shift coming on to start work. to the south are big, big parking lots and a gas station. To the west, high mountains and to the east was a main road. The development areas was about 4 blocks square completely level and ready to break ground for the foundation. We set up camp and LeeRoy and I stayed up late and talked.
Me: So tomorrow is Denver. We made it.
LeeRoy looks at me as he slowly chews on his cud.
Me: It always gets crazy. You know how the cities get… I was thinking we should take some time off here mostly cause it’s going to be a long, long way to KC.
LeeRoy uses his horns to itch a spot on his back towards his tail.
The conversation went on. I told him I was proud of him and I can’t believe we made it this far. I reminded him of all the people that doubted that a goat could walk as far as we have. We shared a granola bar.
I sat with my back up against a big concrete drain pipe that was randomly out there … Looking at the glow for the city lights of Golden and Denver. Leeroy eventually laid his head in my lap and I itched behind his ears. We sat like that for a while. I let my mind wonder and dream.
At about midnight I went to bed.
Sometime in the night I wake up. I open my eyes and focus my ears to investigate what’s around me I see the faint outline of LeeRoy against the glow of the city lights. His tail is straight up and I can kind of see the hair on his back is standing up. His ears and eyes are pointed. Dead set on something. Now I know those are all red flags. And when I’m fully awake I am on it. But as I lay there it’s taking me some time to analyze the data in my head. I laid there another minute with my eyes closed. The picture still in my head. I don’t quite understand how I figured it out but then I was instantly awake. Full on, full scale ready for battle. I grabbed my head lamp and immediately shined it in the direction the LeeRoy was looking and not a minute too soon. There were 8 sets of eyes glowing and staring right back at me … all I could see were the eyes… they all start howling at the top of their lungs. I jump to my feet and start yelling at the top of my lungs. But not any word just AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I put on my head lamp and throw my arms up to look big and scary. And yelling like I was a wild animal myself AHHHHHHHHHH
BUT NOTHING they didn’t move. They are howling and yelling. HA! Now I don’t know why I did this, but at one point they were all howling in tune and I started to slid my voice up to match them. For a second it felt like we are all in perfect pitch. Unsure of what would happen next I threw a few rocks their way. And they scattered…
But they didn’t go far.
I kept throwing rocks and started say. “Scat skedaddle” … eventually they left and I laid back down after the coast was clear. I laid in my sleeping bag replaying what had happened.
I laughed out loud …I really need to work on my tough talk… hahaha.
My grandmother used to say that. I laid there and thought about her in the kitchen saying scat and skedaddle to me when I would try and steal a bite of whatever she was cooking. She would always have some hostess ding dongs in the fridge. I can hear her now, “Put that back! You’re going to ruin your dinner.” I slowly put it back and she shoos me out of the kitchen. “Now scat! Skedaddle!” haha
HERE’S TO YOU GRANDMA…. Hahah SCAT SKEDADDLE... R.I.P