Sunday, May 16, 2010

Three GPS Systems,Three Road Angels, and a Reminder.

When I awoke this morning I had hand written instructions directing my path from Audubon to Merchantville supplied by the good and kind volunteer fire fighter at the station where we stayed. The morning threatened rain with a slight sprinkle here and there.
As we walked, the skies grew clear and the wind was brisk at our faces. We passed a park that was having a rowing event as well as a 5k run-walk that launched just as we came over the bridge. We rolled out of their way as they passed and crossed the first overpass of the day. It had its hazards, but we made it through, the wind getting stiffer and more difficult.
By the time we traversed the second overpass my guide arm was cramped and my shoulder was throbbing on the pushing arm. I couldn't switch sides because of the wind's angle. People were not very talkative and most just took pictures from a distance. That was good because I was working hard to keep a forward motion.
We finally got close to the town of Merchantville where I was walking toward a man who had been working on his yard. He was so stiff that he used his foot to lift his broom handle just high enough to strain and bend to grab it so he could sweep the final touches off his well manicured lawn. I could relate to his stiff back: I can walk all day but bending over is a pain. I told him he had a fine looking yard and he brimmed with a happy thanks. This has nothing to do with diabetes, but I meant the compliment and gave it as he made his last stroke. I always talk of the wind holding me back for a reason and that was the highlight of the morning. He was obviously in pain, yet determined to do a good job. He deserved the compliment.
I came to the circle turn at the edge of town and could see the last direction on my hand-written instructions seemed to take me a block the wrong way. I went on anyway and came upon some children who asked questions for ten minutes or so as they loved on Nice (the dog) and he loved them back. The eldest, a girl, gave the few coins from her pocket even though I kept saying she should keep them for herself, but her uncle was diabetic and she insisted.
A nine year old telling me I was doing a good thing is quite humbling.
While this was going on, an elderly man stood close by and then offered some directions toward route 130 which cut me back the block I had correctly thought I should have gone and then onto a mile long stretch where he said I should find another guide. I guess it was no wrong turn after all.
I was about two blocks down that road when a man in a suit -probably on his way from church- stopped to talk and wrote out a map for my second leg of the days walk. He was very helpful and encouraging. Just as he was leaving, a young woman came up. When she found out what I was doing she said her father was diabetic and said that since he had been going to the gym and loosing weight his levels were vastly more stable, a point I make when I talk to others. It is good to hear it from a stranger the difference it makes ( I know I'm rambling and my punctuation is worse than usual.) The two exchanged cameras and got a shot of themselves with the world before they left.
The second GPS map was clear, but led me to a dangerous section of road with no shoulders --the approach even seemed dangerous. Just as I was about to go it alone I was called to have a break across the road to a restaurant for a drink. When I was inside, three women pulled in who had been searching for us for awhile. Then an off-duty policeman came by. We all discussed how I was to get through the gauntlet. Finally the policeman said he would turn his head if I went on the over pass while the three women stayed behind us all the way around. I could have easily been road-kill like the three animals that I passed as I walked through the bad area. The angels came right on time. They wanted to escort me up 130, but I had made it to safe ground ans was okay.
After we got across the highway, we stopped to talk with the Firemen of Cinnaminson who gave us our final maps for the days walk. These were printed out from Google, and they highlighted the other fire departments ahead. Google beats the others hands down but does take the adventure out of it.
As the sun drew down to the west and we had found ourselves in Riverton. We were walking the wide sidewalk by the train track right-of-way when we met a woman and her son who invited us for dinner and allowed us a shower. Their family was wonderful and reminded me of when my son was young and the joys that go with raising a child. You can't get those times back and only have one shot to do your best. That family is doing great.
I am so tired I should have waited till morning...

1 comment:

morgan rahenkamp said...

I saw you cross 130 and then again walking by the tracks in riverton, that is what made me go on this sight!