Friday, May 22, 2015

Time and a Bottle

At a momentary pause from the traffic, I glanced at my feet and saw a bottle buried in the gravel. The grass plow tracks impressed across a swath where the cutting blade had exposed the road base, and the bottle. I pulled it up, unbroken, filled with rock and dirt. I took a few moments to work the tightly packed contents. The bottle looked to have been tossed there at the time the road was laid, 1970's.
I put it in my pocket and walked on, wondering to myself what in the world I needed with a Pepsi bottle from my teenage years. What would I do with it?
A few miles, hills and curves later I came upon an unique roadside store. Inside I found a woman sitting at a kitchen table off to one side of the sparsely stocked shelves.
Against the far wall was the coffee pot, little antique sugar jar with matching creamer .
Looking to the side I saw a wall of collectible bottles.
I believe this was a sign...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tennessee Testimonials

I could write a book of all the tragic losses people have shared with me of their friends and family members concerning diabetes.
Loss of feet, limbs, sight and life.
I met a preacher last Sunday. He walked out from the small roadside church. One of many in Crossville erected of metal and faith. He had lost well over one hundred pounds after suffering heart troubles and diabetes. Through self determination and dedication he was now a dapper dressed dispenser of "the word" to his flock of faithful.
Yesterday I stopped on the roadside to talk to a man whose daughter had come home from school telling him of a video the school had watched that was filmed by two of their teachers with me and the world. (I had been told the children had to watch with their heads tilted to one side because the teacher held the camera sideways) He brought a large bottle of cold water, wanted to get a picture for his kids and offer me a snack cake. He was the snack cake delivery guy. After accepting the offer he brought out a stack, one of each that he had and an extra honey bun. I had left the zipper open on top of my backpack so I let him load them in, asking him to take care next the baby cucumbers and cherries I had brought on my own. We laughed at the irony of loading up the guy walking for diabetes with sugary cakes. The man wanted so much to do what he could for me and what else can a snack cake guy do but dispense them?
By this time a small congregation had formed. After my light hearted sermon about the irony of snack cakes the women from the close-by business and the happy snack cake bread-winner had gone, but one young man remained.
He was a young man, looked fit, healthy in his twenties. He shared that he had been diabetic but lost one hundred pounds which he had gained after moving out on his own as an adult from his parents home. With diet and exercise he was now free of diabetic symptom,s taking no medications.
Determination and dedication.
Who knows, maybe a little faith in himself.
Love yourself, go for a walk.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

At a Crossroad

On a long contemplative drive she had come to a conundrum. To participate, or close herself away. She spoke to her "higher power" asking for a sign to follow her urge to help the needful.
Moments later she came to a crossroad that stopped in all directions
while a man and his dog, leading the World by a string, crossed before her.
The Himalayas will now be richer from her giving.
No mountain is too high for a loving heart.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The High Street Whirligig

When his wife called him while she was on her way to work at six fifteen telling him to get the camera and find that guy out on the highway pushing a giant ball with a dog he told her she was nuts. He had other things to do. Yard work, for instance. He set about trimming edges and filling boxes with clippings. Hours after his wife called he was roused from his shrubbery-watering by a call from the road.
I had taken a scenic route thru his small town. His road went back to the highway. It was quiet, lined with pretty houses.
A whirligig in his yard was spinning from the sparkled as it turned, I was mesmerized as I walked toward the yard.
Naturally, I couldn't help but say something to the man in the yard about it. He would not have seen me, he was too deeply entranced in his yard irrigation to notice anything else. His yard was perfect, the whirligig, though planted prominently in the open space of the yard, looked out of place.
Once we struck up a conversation he told me about his wife and chuckled that he got to do his yard work and get the picture she'd asked for.
In regards to the whirligig, it was his wife's addition to the yard. Amongst his trimmed edges and painted borders the military veteran showed some disdain for the glistening distraction.
It took away the eye from his perfect yard.
I asked him to let his wife know he would not have got that picture if not for the whirligig.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BonDeCroft to Crossville

There was a good chance for rain sometime during the day, so I carried my little tent. I could erect it quickly, in the case we were far from shelter, when a downpour came.
On my earlier walks I would carry it always. One day I realized I had carried the tent over one thousand miles without using it. There would invariably be a shelter, or a person would appear, they would provide us a ride the few miles back to the van or take us in until the rain ended. I decided to have a little faith and stopped carrying it.
The threat of rain led me to be cautious so I put the tent in my pack. The few extra pounds felt as heavy as a house when I began, though at times the pack weighs much more. I soon forgot about it after we started out in the dark.
I rolled out for the last hours of darkness on the open road before daybreak to avoid the morning rush of traffic and the occasional roadside conversation. We traveled a few miles before the road became busy or people began to pull off to talk or slow to take a picture.
It was well after ten o'clock when the rain began. We were directed to a building by a man who had brought me breakfast by the roadside. The building by the intersection to the town of Pleasant Hill. The structure looked like it had been an old gasoline station, now used for storage. It had an overhang that provided Nice (the dog) and I just enough room to stay dry. The rain became heavy, the cars on the highway threw up thick clouds of water in their wake. I was scanning the area for a place to erect my tiny house when a man, his wife and her mother stopped for a visit under the awning. The couples son is a type-1 diabetic and they wanted to say hello. We talked a bit before the man rode me back the few miles to the van while the ladies stayed with Nice and the world. A few minutes later Nice was comfortably relaxing in his captains chair. The man then stopped at home to get their son and we had a picture taken in front of the world before they left.
Once again, I had carried the tent, for physical therapy, without needing to use it.
Soon the tapping of rain on the roof of the van lulled me into napping for an hour or so. I was awakened when a man came tapping on my raindrop speckled window. He had seen us the previous day but was unable to stop and wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to talk. I was refreshed from the nap, so talk I did. Soon he knew my life story and the dog's too.
With his phone we checked the progress of the rain clouds with his GPS. It looked as if there would be a break so I prepared to resume since the man had offered assistance when I was near Crossville, I thought I might risk it again between cloud fronts.
It was still raining slightly and Nice (the dog) looked at me with wide eyes. I plied him with bologna that someone had given me, to no avail. He was not getting out of his comfy spot. For the first time, I left him in the van. It was sure to be overcast with clouds the rest of the day, had I not taken the chance I would have stayed on the van with him anyway. Leaving the windows open,with water and food, I left him. I felt guilty, he put his head down and closed his eyes.
I walked through Pleasant Hill then back on the main highway, still carrying the tent just in case. It stayed cloudy all day but the rain stayed away.
When I finally got back to the van Nice hadn't moved.
Back in Crossville, one of the first things I did was open my backpack to take out the tent.
It may seem foolhardy to believe the planets will align all the time but it is no reason to carry a house on your back, just In case some rain should fall.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Spartan Crusaders

On our way into Sparta we met Margaret who was having a meeting with the Sparta chamber of commerce that afternoon. Her concern was healthier food availability in the growing city. Food deserts exist, even when surround by rich farmlands.
As we walked up the "mountain" leaving Sparta the next morning we met the President of the Sparta chamber of commerce who was of a like mind in the noble thinking of sustainability.
It was not lost on any of us that without plenty of wholesome food, not generally produced by big distributors, it's lack could be a factor in the growing spread of diabetes and and other disease.
Plant a seed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Take me to safety!"

After I awoke at the WallyWorld two men drove alongside where we were parked to ask what I was up to. They had seen us on the road. After a few questions he offered to ride us over the Smyrna Bridge, they are constructing a new one and the old bridge is very narrow. The men were working at a house out that way, gave me their cell number to call when I arrived.
The road to the lake was fairly passable but the valley roadway going to the bridge
was narrow with a guardrail on on side and a ditch with a rock face on the other..
Just when I had made it to the base of the bridge the men appeared,they had finished for the day.
When we loaded the world up in the bed of the truck the driver asked if I wanted to go just to the other side or up the hill where it was safe. I opted for safety...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Justice and a Buckaloo

I have met with Justice on the road.
He was a man small of stature,
Big of heart and wisdom.
Not comfortable with his name.
He spoke it with a whisper.
Just the same,
Billy Buckaloo was another case all together.
Loud and proud!
He owns his, like a great title.
As the millenniums sometimes utter...

Blue moons and Snow hill

On Mothers Day we walked through Lebanon to the Blue Moon Bar-b-que. stayed the day while I touched up the paint on the worn world. Because of the heat I have been leaving early, before light.
We walked to Watertown and stayed at a farm on the East side of town the next day. Everyone was nice and helpful.
From Watertown the road narrowed for some mile so I took the scenic route , went thru Alexandria, " the nicest folks on earth" was what the sign said. The old sections of highway, before the newer main road was cut was nostalgic and quiet. When the road opened wide again Nice got a break from the heat with an afternoon from one of my new Facebook friends. She took him all day. They lay under a tree on a blanket in the yard while I walked up Snow Hill into Smithville. At the bottom of the one mile stretch up the hillside I had one bottle of water and thought I had just enough to get the top,with all the good folks stopping,some bringing water I drank a half gallon on the way up and had a gallon when I got to the top.
In Smithville we stayed the night outside the Walmart after reuniting with Nice,who did not want to leave his new girlfriend I slept until daylight.
i was able to "hump" twice what I would have with Nice in the heat.
More later...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Buddy

A few feet from the Mount Juliet "welcome" sign, late afternoon on a Friday, a man driving a tractor with what I call a "magic wand" pulled alongside and asked if it'd be alright if he cut the grass ahead of me.
Enthusiastically I replied "Well Sure!"
All the way through the city limits, on both sides, I had a clear swath, didn't have to high step the weeds and grass that has gone to seed, and managed not to gather "a tick one".
I am sure the man from the city had other things he could have done the last hours of his workweek back at "the shop".
My Buddy, ever in my eyes...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

It's there for you

After months spent home in Louisville I dropped all my excuses and have returned to the road, going back to Nashville, Tennessee heading East toward Knoxville.
What struck me as I walked all day from downtown along the state highway lined with sidewalks and bike lanes to Mt. Juliet was the lack of any pedestrians or cyclists. Of the five walkers I met two were walking to keep their diabetes balanced. An older man, looking to be in his early eighties, he walks three miles daily and keeps his A1C levels stable; and an Hispanic woman who happily informed me she had walked twenty miles in the last two days and beamed a big smile telling me her cholesterol was lower as well as her blood sugar.
Thousands of autos passed during the three hour rush of the morning, the traffic going to the city was nearly bumper to bumper.
It gave me pause.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Tennessee Dragon

All journeys have personal beasts to conquer, or harness to your resolve, helping spur you on to the next mountain or continental divide.
Loosing my Mother to diabetes has certainly been one of those Dragons for me.
My Uncle has been my banner, my inspiration, at 87 he has managed his diabetes for decades. His dedication deserves more recognition than the loss of my Mother at 54.
In walking, I believe I have staved off diabetes in myself, kept this Dragon at bay while alerting others of this beast that ravages far and wide.
In their honor, I have walked thousands of miles and will likely walk thousands more, waving the banner, lamenting the loss, chasing Dragons...