And my tent had dried out, even deep in the trees. And my tentpoles weren't cold at all. But I still took my time getting back on the road. I had gone and out-hoboed myself. And not for the first time. I come up with these spectacularly well concealed tent sites and then have the damnedest time remembering how I got in there in the first place. I was surrounded by prickle bushes. I sat down to contemplate life.
Back on the road my legs were weak. You expect that after an illness. Real or imagined. I had too a fairly uncomfortable blister. I should have doctored it the night before but I tell you it is really hard to generate enthusiasm for that kind of thing. It would have meant climbing out of my sleeping bag and skewering myself with nosehair scissors. It hurts and it hurts my feelings. Which is why I'm neglecting that same task tonight. Let it fester till morning.
I will be up much earlier tomorrow. I've left myself little choice. I am camped on the edge of Highway 20. The State Patrol may wake me up. I am quite invisible here in the dark but will be easy to see come the dawn. The shame of sleeping in in front of everyone ought to have me up by seven or so. We'll see, we'll see.
The earlier the better, I am inclined to think, though I know my tentpoles will be cold. I am scheduled to visit my friends the Smiths, whom you may remember as the nice family I met in southeastern Montana. They were delivering their daughter Grace to college when one of their wheels fell off. I stopped to offer impotent sympathy and they've been friends of mine ever since.
And great friends to have, it has turned out. You'll never guess what I'm wearing now. Fleece pants. I'm wearing fleece pants. It's cold but I have never felt so toasty. You'll recall that just yesterday I was lamenting the fact that there is no such thing as fleece pants. Good Mrs. Smith sat down and made me a pair. And delivered them to me here on the road, not two short hours ago. I almost cried.
Gosh, they're warm. I've got thermals too, but I have not bothered with them. I am perfectly warm in my fleece pants. I feel like a teddy bear. Yesterday, though, I said I would wear my fleece pants to parties, but I am afraid that is quite impossible. They're warm but they make me look fat. My thermals are in fact rather slimming. They just don't work as good.
The whole jolly family came out to greet me, less Grace who is off getting smart. There is Elsie, a flower, and Wyatt, a pill, and Anna, whose name I forgot. That delightful little palindrome made me chocolate chip cookies. I am chewing on one even now. And Mrs. Smith brought me soup, hot from the stove, chicken noodle in a styrofoam cup. And Mr. Smith, no doubt a little tired from his three and a half jobs, condescended to deliver them all. It was like Christmas, I swear.
Oh, and Grandma sent me socks. She worries about me, you know. I have not had the honor of meeting her, but it is her interest perhaps more than anyone's that keeps me from getting too foul and blasphemous in my blog. I don't know, even now, that she would approve of my every scribbling, but I thank her for her kind indulgence.
I didn't break any records walking today. Late start and lazy habits. I was able to visit but one small town, Correctionville, Iowa. It seems pleaeant enough but I did not stay long enough to find out how many people live there or learn how it got its name. I do know they used to have a grocery store but it burned down. Foul play is not suspected.
And I believe I have answered a question that has been puzzling me. As you know, I live on hamburgers, largely because they are cheap and filling, widely available and predictably digestible. But I've long wondered why, given so little variation in ingredients, some burgers are really good and most others aren't. The secret? Toasted buns. I swear that's it.
Anyway, I'm cold and my battery is dead. I must bid you goodnight. Thanks for tuning in.
I JUST KNOW that some of you are already planning to build an empire based on fleece pants. Well, I am afraid that invention is shared by Mrs. Smith and myself. And she may yet sue me for my half. It is a million dollar idea, though. You're right about that.
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