Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day One-Hundred-Two, Patrimony

There is that fear that comes when you wake up in the morning, not knowing where you are. I had it a lot in my twenties. It's a lifestyle thing. I was never so lost that I couldn't piece it together from clues. Usually I'd just roll over and ask. People can be awfuly helpful.

I no longer suffer such sweet mysteries. I always know just where I am. I am in my tent, and where that is never seems all that important. It may be on a mountain, or in a field or wedged in next to an interstate. There may be snakes or beaver or buffalo. In the morning I don't really care

This morning I woke up in a city park in Merriman, Nebraska. Early. It was the roosters that did it. Merriman is a very small town. But they take good care of their hobos there. The park came with a shower. And it wasn't so dirty; it was just old. I started my day shiny fresh.

There is too a cafe in Merriman. They all seemed to know who I was. Or were curious to; a table of farmers spent a good time gawking at me. And while self-conscioisness is chief among my sins I wasn't bothered a bit. Had they remarked I did have a few answers ready, none of them terribly kind. But they were content to mutter and stare. I was content to stuff myself.

The cafe is run my Ladonna Dawn. Gosh, that's a fun name to say. Ladonna Dawn, Ladonna Dawn. Try it and see that I am right. She was kind and I ordered too a sandwich, to chew on in the afternoon.

I had twenty-four miles to my next town. I was not wholly convinced that I'd make it. Some days I can do it. Others I can't. I never know which day is which. I have never really found a steady rhythm. All I can do is try.

I am still in the Sand Hills. There are no trees. The road goes up and down. It was eighty but overcast. I was neither hot nor cold. I was ready to stop after three short miles. Instead I walked twelve more.

At the ten mile mark I came to road construction, pilot cars and flagmen and such. In the past that has been very bad news but today it worked out fine. There were big trucks hauling gravel back and forth. I got to wave to the same drivers several times. And even talk to a couple of them. I felt like part of the gang.

I had to keep walking. They now knew who I was. I didn't want to look weak. The far-end flagman said they were talkng about me, all up and down on the radio. As I suspected. Cool.

Cheers to America's truck drivers, especially those fellows today. They always make a special effort not to kill me and to cheer me on my way. Now and then one will even give me a blast of his horn. I can't tell you what that means to me. We're at opposite ends but we're all Men of the Road. We alone understand. And I feel much safer walking by a professional driver pushing a too too wide load than I do even the smallest Winnebago.

Some of those men are women, of course. I like them especially.

They were still waving to me when I sat down to lunch. My sandwich had survived beautifully. Nine more miles seem like nothing with fifteen under your belt. When I got to Cody (population one-hundred-fifty-something) it was early yet. I was thinking about ten more miles. It was then, of course, I ran into my father whom I haven't spoken to in twenty-three years.

Time flies.

So we hit the saloon and ate Indian tacos, that's with frybread instead of shells. It was all-you-can-eat. Dad picked up the check. I had fourteen of the things. I probably could have gotten by on a dozen. I didn't need those last nineteen Pepsis, either. But for the next two days I'm on trail food. It's important to eat when you can.

Find me now in Cody's city park. Nebraska, it do love its hobos. There's a shower and they don't mind tents. They're probably glad for the visitors. A lot of the road crew guys are across the way in trailers. They've likely been here for weeks.

A sign on the edge of town reads, "Cody, Too Tough to Die." It is, nevertheless, hanging on by a thread. All the towns up here are. There just isn't much for folks to do. Loving the land's not enough.

Ted Turner is buying up a lot of the land and using it to raise buffalo. Trouble is, buffalo are real low-maintenance. They pretty much look after themselves. Every time a ranch goes to buffalo it puts another dozen cowboys out of work.

Ted Turner started CNN. He owns a baseball team. He gave a billion dollars to the UN and, like many good men before him, he was once married to Jane Fonda. He has this idea that buffalo would go great in school lunches. Seriously. That's his plan. He's also a Bolshevik. You don't see many Bolshevik billionaires.

I ain't got two nickels to rub together.

IF I WERE billionaire social engineer, I would promote garbanzos. I quite like garbanzos and am sure that, properly educated, so would America's children.

HOMEWORK: Watch "Barbarella." Discuss.

START BROADCASTING your location on the Internet and anyone can find you, I swear to God. I'm lucky I don't have warrants.
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  1. What do you mean???.... we are following you're every word....keep on walking....leave it all behind you......it's in the past ..

    much love ....Elaine<3

  2. Thank you for your kind support.

  3. I wish someone would <3 me sometimes. I wish I were James