Saturday, June 14, 2014
Norman and a Horse 5/13/2014
STORIES FROM THE ROAD....
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.