The first day was cool, overcast, walking into a slight breeze. The emergency lane gave me all the room I needed to keep the World on the pavement and stay off the white "fog line". I tuned to the first local radio station on my soon-to-be obsolete "Walkman" AM/FM.
It was country.
I danced alongside the World, a slight two-step to my gait.
Only a few stopped on this cool afternoon. The first pulled off within sight of the van. He was a church-goer on his way to haul Christmas Trees. The next was a woman with a bottle of water, a fresh Christmas Tree in the bed of her pickup truck. There was Mary Ann from the newspaper in Westmoreland, she had puffy colorful fingerless gloves. We talked about "drawls" and how Northerners won't let you leave just so they can hear you bend an "I" like a guitar string.
I was within sight of town when Jim stopped and asked if I needed any help. He had read about us on the "Internet". He was willing to give me a ride from the nearby dollar store to my van. I had parked at the state line.
Jim, it seems, had diabetes as a result of "agent orange". He recalled being in the jungles of Viet-Nam as the helicopters coated them until they were wet.
He thought I should write songs...