My fingers got a little cold. When I woke up I was smiling. I have a fine sense of the ridiculous. I immediately got the joke. That it should be so cold and I should be outside somehow tickled me. I can laugh at myself. It was freezing outside. What's not funny about that?
It is my usual practice to pack up slow. I'll do this or that. Then I'll sit for five minutes and contemplate. Sometimes I comb my beard. But this morning, though I worked steadily, it took me just as long. My molecules had gone a bit sluggish. I had started to solidify.
It was still cold when I hiked up to the road, across a frosty field. I worried about my brittle toes. I was not sure they were still attached. But it promised to be a beautiful day, and was by nine or ten. The air was cold but the sun was warm, and the sun did not disappoint.
I've got a blister between my toes. I'm limping on a bad ankle. I've been feeling a bit feverish and not just a little chafed. But I was walking strong. I took my last aspirin. No doubt that helped some. I enjoyed a comparatively pleasant walk, seven miles to Millersville.
I stopped once to eat the sandwich the kid gave me yesterday. The one I'd had the night before was bologna and strawberry jam. Or possibly ketchup. I cannot be sure. I gobbled it up in the dark. But this time in a nod to tradition he had used mustard instead.
Thank you, young sir. I'm a sandwich maker myself. I applaud your generous and imaginative efforts.
Millersville, Missori is represented by one gas station/store. Where I enjoyed a modest lunch that was not altogether bad. It featured pickle chips, pickle slices, battered and then deep fried. They are a lot better than you might guess. I worried about them though. They were sour, of course, but spicy as well. I feared they might upset my tummy.
I loitered a while and tried to recharge. My tummy turned out to be fine. I continued on to Jackson, Missouri, an easy eight miles away. There were plenty of hills but I was strong. It was an awful pretty day. I felt cheerful. That is worth mentioning. Mine is rather a gloomy soul.
Outside town I met a truck driver. His shirt said he was from Seattle. But his wife's shirt said Nebraska. That was where they are from. They were looking for a place to park their rig while they went to visit Mom. I like truck drivers and Nebraskans both. They had my full sympathy. It reminded me of my own sorry efforts to find a place for my tent.
Checking my map I had one small concern. I was getting too close to Cape Girardeau. Which is, comparatively speaking, a pretty big town. I hoped to buy shoes there. But it is big enough that I should try to stop short, while I am still out in the country. Otherwise it might get tricky. Cities are hard to walk through.
I decided to linger a bit in Jackson, a big enough town in itself. It is named for Andrew Jackson, who caught the bloody British at the Battle of New Orleans. They ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles and they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go. They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em, down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
I believe he also slaughtered the Seminole, most heroically. This was before there was any stigma attached to what we now call ethnic cleansing. I think the Trail of Tears was his idea. He thought they deserved an outing. He was either for or against the National Bank and, unique among our early Presidents, had very messy hair.
Jackson, Missouri seems tidy enough. I passed along the edge of town. And found a discount shoe store selling factory seconds and such. Every now and then, and God bless them for it, those hard-working Chinese orphans will use too much glue or sew the Nike Swoop® upside down. They ship these atrocities to Jackson.
I got a great pair of shoes, ones I've had before, but for quite a bit less than half price. They aren't as heavy as I wish they were. They don't even pretend to be waterproof. The wind sails through their cooling mesh. I couldn't be better pleased.
I hate, I mean hate, I mean purely detest, shopping in all its forms. But shopping for shoes is the very worst. It's how I thought I'd spend tomorrow. But I found a great shop and saved a fortune. So what if my feet will be cold. I had a small snack to celebrate. I had done something good.
Or so I thought. I'd miscalculated. I used up this month's funds. So now I'm going to starve to death. Live and learn, I say.
I figured this out at the Burger King. I should have saved that burger for tomorrow. This nonsense of eating twice a day is going to be my end. And a grumpy old Republican and his delightful wife told me that my bridge across the Ohio is out. So now I'm going to have to walk to Paducah, home of Jefferson Exodus Poindexter.
Aw, hell. I'll figure it out. At least I am warm tonight. It is meant to drop to the mid-thirties. Balmy. Balmy, I say.
I AM CAMPED in the woods behind a church. I kid the Christians, I do. But as a rule they have been good to me. Let's hope they're the friendly kind. Because I'll be stumbling into their parking lot just when they're all arriving to All-ages Sunday School. I may need to have my trespasses forgiven.
I AM NOW just the tiniest bit ill. I hope it wasn't the deep-fried pickles.
IT HAS FOR years now been my practice to capitalise the word "Internet." No one else does. I am right and they are wrong.
I BELIEVE that's Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, but I couldn't say for sure. Poor, don't you know.
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