Walking into Knoxville or any large(ish) city I can be sure few cars will give any ground. In the country they slow and move over as far as they can even though I have the world totally off the roadway when they pass. Not that I expect any consideration, it is interesting that in the city most cars bear down, almost daring me to make a mistake.
Few people stop in cities, whereas in small towns I can count on an extra break for conversation with the locals.
It being a Sunday on a holiday weekend I wasn't surprised that no one stopped. A few slowed to snap a picture. I walked nearly eight miles before the first person walked up to me to talk.
"Coach" was the second to stop and talk. After talking for awhile he told me that after he retired from coaching high school football, had hip replacement surgery his health suffered as he gained weight and eventually had to carry nitro-glycerin for his ailing heart. When his doctor told him he had become diabetic he refused to accept the diagnosis. He told the doctor he would be back in a few months and prove him wrong. Ultimately he has lost ninety pounds and the coach is free of medications.
He offered to have me come to his home for a shower and even wash my clothes when I finished for the afternoon. (The road becomes too hot for Nice (the dog) after temperatures get above 80 degrees and sunny.) he was going to make sure I got a ride for the van and have me come for dinner with his family.
When the time came for the ride he sent a young man who was working and staying with him. When I was dropped at the van the coach had another errand for the man and he also was busy with his auto-mechanic. ( Coach is a busy man) When I had the world stuffed away in the van I called for directions. The coach had me call his young friend to guide me in, "old school", rather than a simple address I could plug into my smartphone. The young man texted that he would call me back. After I sat down and had lunch at a restaurant, I received no call back and Coach didn't answer. I didn't judge any deeper than that they were busy.
With the ball loaded up I found a laundromat to make use of the afternoon. Returning to the area where I had deflated the world and no return calls I found a place under shade trees to rest for the walk to the heart of Knoxville Monday, Memorial Day. I was able to get some sleep in the relatively cool spot and awoke at 3am.
Ready to go, a little after 4am, I grabbed the keys from the ignition to see that I had left the key turned on when I raised the power window before I fell asleep but forgot to turn the key to the off position. The battery was drained dead. There was nothing I could do at that moment about the drained battery. At such an hour, on a holiday in a deserted mall district heading toward downtown.
I quickly resolved to throw my fate to the wind, not dwell on my stupidity all day, to get a Cab at the end of the day. I was certain I would be stranded somewhere in downtown Knoxville, as the streets would be barren. Of coarse I dwelled on it all day to the point of distraction.
I was able to tour downtown with literally no cars on the streets. Only a few delivery trucks and a few city workers were making their rounds. Only after passing to the road heading east out of town did one person stop and get out of her vehicle to talk.
She videoed our conversation so she could share it with her children. She had lost weight and was working slowly toward lowering her blood sugar levels.By the end of the interview, when I told her the grocery store I was planning to have as my end-point for the day, she said she would see about getting me a ride and a 'jump for my battery. It turned out she lived by the store and she called me a few minutes later to have me meet at her auto-mechanic's place, who happened to be across the road from the store.
She then gave me a ride while Larry (the mechanic) watched Nice (the dog) under a shade tree where he and a few others were performing mechanics under the shade of a different tree. When I returned ,Larry let me stay in the yard. He also fixed my tail lights and topped off the fluids in my van.
I needn't have worried all day. Things worked out even better than I could have hoped.
Had Coach not missed my call, allowing me to rest and get started early I would not have met Crystal where I did. Or Larry.
Further, this evening, I have walked out of Knoxville proper and got help before I asked.
I walked by a salvage yard that is very close to my planned daily endpoint. I paused to take a photo of an old Buick set upon blocks I front of the recycling building. Out from it came the proprietor and within a minute he was offering a ride and a place to park close to the relic overnight.