Saturday, June 14, 2014

Norman and a Horse 5/13/2014


 I had people come out and visit me from Higginsville. People were bringing out donations and it kept seeming like people from towns I had passed through were coming out to find me.  And that was really encouraging.  I enjoy that.  I enjoy talking with them and sharing the stories.  Saturday I moved on, kept walking. We got caught in wild storms Saturday. I'm looking down the road and literally right off the freeway, maybe 30 yards away lightning strikes and both LeeRoy and I freak.  We panic!  It was shocking.  I had never been that close to lightning!  I was getting text messages and phone calls that there is a storm coming, there is a storm coming, find shelter. We were racing against the clock in my mind.  I am trying to find a shelter.  And there is nothing out there.  I am walking on I-70.  My plan was if worse came to worse, I would flag down a car and maybe they could take us somewhere safe.  But I didn't find any shelter.  So it seemed like the storm was passing just north of me.  So, I thought, maybe I would just catch the edge.  To my right was clear skies.  To my left a wild storm.  I found out the next day there were actually a tornado up there.  A couple towns got hit with a tornado.  Kinda freaky!  You definitely feel helpless, but I decided when I was in that moment, I am going to put up my tent and just ride out the storm; not understanding how serious it could get.  I don't know, maybe I am just naive to this stuff I guess.  Anyways, we set up our tent and I could hear, right before I get in my tent, about 50 yards away lightning flashes then thunder hits.  Four lightning flashes in one area and a fire starts.  And I just felt so insignificant in that moment.  Like, my life is fragile.  It could be taken in an instant. It's wild.  We didn't get any rain.  LeeRoy and I just camped about 20 feet off the side of the freeway in some bushes. The second my tent was up, I instantly fell asleep.  Like I had no problem with the semis loudly racing by.  I instantly just crashed.  In fact, it's one of those things where I went to take off my shoes, but I didn't get it all the way off and I still had the water spout for my Camel Bak in my mouth when I woke up.  Just falling asleep mid-drink.  Oh, it's so funny.  I wake up in the morning, my feet hurt a little, but that's ok.  I'm ready.  We push, we walk strong.

 I get a phone call early in the morning and it's sounds like an old lady.  It's Sunday morning and she is like, "Where are you at?"  It's from an unknown number. I just answer, "I'm on the side of the freeway."  She says, "I know, but where?"  I said, "I-70."  She says, "What mile marker?"  I say, "89."  She replies, "Okay, well, do you remember that old man and that old lady at the restaurant last Sunday?"  I said, "Yeah."  Her reply, "They want to come meet you."  She says, "The old man wants to come meet you," talking about Norman.  And I said, "Okay, well, there is a Dairy Queen about two miles up on my map."  I said, "I will meet you there.  We can have lunch."

So we get there and as we walk in people are coming out, taking pictures of the goat.  It is just the same ole, same ole.  I feel like I shouldn't even write these in these blogs anymore because wherever I am at, just know there are people talking to me, taking pictures, ya know, like it's routine now.  Norman and his wife show up and he is a WWII Veteran and he's got plenty of incredible stories. We are just chit chatting.  I am telling them about the road and he's telling me about animals.  He was into horses his whole life.    He rode trick horses.  He trained them.  He rode dressage and Western and three-day eventing.  He told me this great story about his wife and how they met.

So this is the story about Norman's wife.  Norman is this amazing guy. When he was young he was at this horse show.  He saw the most beautiful horse.    "It had  a beautiful gait," is what he says.  And I don't even know what that means; I am assuming it means it walks well.  He is watching this horse, and he is wishing so bad he could have it.  This girl comes up to him while he is watching this horse and she says, "You like that horse?"  And he says, "I sure do."  And she goes, "Well, I got a better horse than that."  He goes, "Is it a Thoroughbred?"  And she says, "Yeah."  He says, "Well, is he broke?"  She says, "Yeah."  He says, "Does he have a gait like that?"  She says, "Yeah."  He says, "Do you ride him?"  She says, "No."  He says, "Well, why?"  She says to him, "Too much horse for me."  And so he replies, "Well, I would like to come and meet this horse."  So they set a date, he goes out, he looks at the horse and it's everything he dreamed of.  It's a beautiful horse.  Perfect gait.  Beautiful; everything that he has wanted.  He desperately wants this horse.  He says to her, "Will you sell it to me?"  She says, "No, it's not for sale."  And he said he knew right then that the only way for him to get this horse was to marry the woman.  Ha! Ha! Ha!  So he marries her and right then, we just laughed.  We busted up in the Dairy Queen.  In the middle of us laughing, his wife goes, "Well the joke was on him, that horse didn't like men."  And then he told me all these stories about how difficult it was for him to work with this horse because he just didn't like him.  I love meeting people.  I love hearing their stories.  At the end of our lunch, he gets up and I just catch a moment of him and his wife together.  He hands her the last bit of his Coke so she can drink it.  She gets him a walker and together, they take care of each other as he scooted his walker with just a grin from ear to ear.  And I thought to myself, that's it.  That's what I want.  It's a beautiful thing; love.  And they have had it.  Something like 70 years together! Thats what I want.

Text message

Awhile back I received a message from a friend and it was so touching ... 

Friend: I just want you to know, I had the shittiest day today, lots of "I can't do anything right and I'm an Asshole in everyone's eyes" , and as I was dwelling on everything, I read some of your blogs and they made me feel better. So thank you for writing them.

Me :Thank you that makes me happy.

Friend: It was one of those days where you look at your life and wonder how you got where you are.... thank you!
Me: I'm there sometimes on a daily basis.

Friend :Me too, but yesterday was bad. I went through a super suicidal time in July. Yesterday was a close second. And, your the only one that understands that, that is why I turned to your writings to get my mind somewhere else

this is so HUMBLING...

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am in Boonville, MO.  It's about 2:16 and the date is May 13, 2014.  I'm at a host home. Today I am taking the day off.  I've been  put down a lot of miles and it has been really awesome.  One thing that you really have to watch when you put down a lot of miles with a goat is you gotta make sure you watch his hooves; make sure they wear evenly and right now LeeRoy is looking like a champ.  He is walking faster.  In fact, I would say this is the fastest start we have had.  The first two years we did this were pretty slow starts.  I think we have gotten almost, well shoot, I think we got about 100 miles down, I don't know, maybe more.

A couple quick little stories.  When I walked into Blue Spring, I stopped at a restaurant called Hot Pot Cafe. In there I met a bunch of amazing people, but one couple in particular, Norman was his name and I can't remember the wife's name, Sarah is her name...  but they had me sit at their table and talk with them and we kept on being interrupted the whole time. I didn't really get to learn much about them.  They asked me a bunch of questions and again I was being interrupted so much that we really didn't get a good conversation going.  However, we did connect a little bit.  So, I left Blue Springs and I kept trucking and meeting people and it was awesome.  Also, when I was in Blue Springs a couple, Kaci and Kyle, passed me and they wanted to talk to me.  But we never got a chance to meet up. they found me on Facebook and we started messaging.  We became  Fast friends, Kyle and I and Kaci. Side note.  There are so many people that I have already met that I want to talk about.  Everybody has a unique story.  Everybody has a unique story that I want to share.  And, I am not that good of a writer, nor do I have the patience to sit down and chronicle every single amazing story that happens.

I left Blue Springs, I made it to Bates City.  I was in Bates City, slept behind a dumpster at a gas station.  I kept walking; made it to Concordia.  I took a day off in Concordia.  I was having knee and hip pain and it was because I didn't have the right shoes and so that really affects me in a huge way.  Especially with the weight of my backpack and my body mechanics are already  horrible.  I look like Quasimoto walking.  I get a real good waddle going back and forth.  My right foot points out and I kind of get this weird peg leg looking kind of walk going.  Especially towards the end of the day. One of my things that I forgot about is that at the end of the day after your body starts to cool down and you sit down. When you finally have to get back up to go to the bathroom or you have to get up to get something; I stand up and I feel all of the miles all at once.  My feet are swollen and they hurt and yeah, it's just not comfortable.

So anyways, last Wednesday, Kyle came out and we had BBQ.  We sat together and talked and debated different Christian books out there and a little bit of theology.  We talked about his family and his wife, Kaci. It's interesting how quickly you can become friends.  How quickly you can connect with people and get to know them.  So then we made a plan for him to come out Friday.  He came out and we walked that whole day together and it was amazing.  You know, it was good to have company on the road; we chit chatted and he got to experience the eight or nine miles of a walk on that Friday.  People wanted to get a picture with me and him while we were eating.  This often happens, while I am eating people will come up to my table and say, "Hey I want to get a picture of you."  So, I'll be in the middle of a bite and I'm looking up at the camera and they take a picture of me.  And then they turned to Kyle. This is his first time having this experience and I could just imagine what he is thinking.  He kinda gets this look on his face like, "Man, this is so awkward.  I am not even a part of the project.  Why are you taking my picture?  Does this happen all the time?"  And yes Kyle, yes my friend, this happens a lot to me!  Ha ha!  You can see the uncomfortableness and I realized how far I have come.  I'm okay with this.  I'm okay with people just coming up to me and taking my picture.  I am used to it now.  I've gotten thicker skin and that's kind of interesting.