I apologize for taking so long to update. Sometimes the twist and turns spin you around like a blindfolded child in a game at a birthday party. I'll start from Saturday and try to cover all of what has transpired.
I had walked in the darkness from Huntington between the rainstorms. While walking through Lufkin I met Charles and Brenda who own and operate Pit Stop Barbecue. First I met Charles after I passed their little restaurant on the edge of town. It had just gotten light and he stopped to take some pictures. This happens often and I didn't think about it as I made my way into the city. I don't use the gps on my phone very often but I did this morning in hopes of cutting off some time by walking through the city and not following "the loop" that goes around Lukin. I was soon lost in the maze of streets in the quiet downtown area. I happened by a fire station where I stopped to ask for a fire department patch. The men there didn't have any to spare but I did get an old t-shirt from the captain with a Lufkin logo. After I zig-zagged through a few more streets and crossed a railroad track I met Brenda. She had been searching for me after her husband Charles told her about me and caught sight of me just as I disappeared around a corner. They pride themselves on helping others, having the best barbecue in Texas and the collection of signed photographs that adorn the walls of their little restaurant. We hit it off from the start and talked for a long time. She wanted to feed me some of their world famous food andhave me sign the picture Charles made from when he had stopped earlier. She gave me their phone numbers and insisted she give me a ride to retrieve my van at the days end. As she was leaving she asked if there was anything I wanted, I half joking told her I wanted a Bone-e-fied Texas Cowboy Hat! I didn't think about it as I made my way around "the loop" that was much longer than it seemed on my little-bitty screen. I found myself at the end of the day clear around to the little town of Central where, as I said in my last post, I had an offer to stay outside a home of a nice woman but would have to walk back from whence I came when I took an offer from a man who lived along the direction I was heading. He was on his way to workout with his son and said I could park the world under the carport. I called Brenda, she picked me up and took me to the restaurant to feed me, to the van back in Huntington, to Baskins to get fitted with a Tuff Hedeman Resistol-Stetson Bon-E-fied Cowboy Hat with a longhorn hat-band and a stampede string to keep it from flying off in the wind while I charge against the stampede of cars and cattle trucks. My old hat is old, faded and broken down so this new look will take some gettin' used to but after one day under the shade of the big Texas brim my ears and weather beaten face are convinced. When we returned with my new hat and the van to the Pit-Stop Charles had finished working on the stylish collage photograph that had me wishing I'd shaved before I left from Huntington that morning. I signed the picture that is now on display where you get get the best brisket I have ever tasted anywhere before I went back to meet the family of the man who offered shelter from the rain and storms. They treated me as one of their own, took me out to a special dinner, washed my dirty clothes, et me shower, we watched a movie and I rested during the downpours all through Sunday when I wasn't patching up the World under the carport. They had a big meal with friends Sunday evening, they helped me get back out to the main road Monday morning and were there to ride Nice (the dog) and me back to the van after I walked to Wells as it became dark. Their young son gave me a brand new Camelback military issue backpack that I used for the first time that day. My old pack has seen me throigh four over four thousand miles and as much as I am nostalgic about I did need a change. With my new hat and pack I felt like a kid after Christmas during my twelve and a half mile walk in sunny Texas.
Just when everything was going so well...
My twenty year old son who I love dearly, my only child, did something he should not have done (again) experimenting with a high dose of over the counter cold medication that made him delusional and I got word from Tennessee that he had walked off into the dense countryside. They found his shoes nearby after he had run off to find his mother who he apparently heard calling in the distance. His mother was two hundred fifty miles away. This alone should be enough of a cautionary tale against experimenting... So I stopped walking, deflated the World and high-tailed it to the hills just in time give all the information to the team that tracked his scent to the nearby town and sent out a media and state wide BOLO. When he surfaces there are a lot of caring folks to help him.
In the mean time I just received a call. One of my dearest friends just passed on so I must go back to my old Kentucky Home (not too far away now) for a a short while.
Being the type that would like to do what I say I hope to complete my journey to Dallas before mid-April. If the planets align, that will happen. I have faith.
Thanks for all the messages, support... and the prayers.