Find me in the woods south of Shubuta. Funny name for a town. It sounds like a Kyushu delicacy. Something you'd get in the Fall. Come to think of it I dated a Shubuta once. We were engaged for almost an hour. But bless her heart, she let me off the hook. She was perfect in every way.
I woke up in somebody's vast back yard. That will teach me to camp in the dark. I went undiscovered but woke up fairly sore. I'd slept on some knobbly roots. I did a little better today. At least I think I did. It was dark again but I'm on a soft bed of pine needles and fallen leaves.
Quitman, Mississippi was eight miles off, or maybe closer to nine. But I didn't mind. I was trying to enjoy my last good day for a while. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain. After that it is going to get cold. And rain some more, or so they say. I'm not looking forward to it.
I prefer days more like today. It was up in the seventies. A little too warm, in point of fact. It put me in a summery humour. Which juxtaposed nicely with the autumn leaves. There were carols on the radio. There are worse places to winter than Mississipi. There are worse places to walk.
I stopped for breakfast on the edge of Quitman. I stopped for lunch a half hour later. Breakfast was a 32-ounce cup of coffee at a place called Cups & Cones. Ice cream is their specialty. It wasn't as warm as all that. Today was their very first day in business. I wish them the very best.
"Y'all come back soon," they told me when I left. As soon as I reasonably can.
I think they have a good concept. Their coffee is very well sized. For our international friends, thirty-two ounces is something just short of nine litres. I had too something called a scone. I've always wondered about them. Scones it turns out are blueberry muffins, mashed into a triangle shape. Who knew.
Quitman is not such a very big town. I had lunch at the butcher shop. It was that or Hardee's. I had baked beans and a scoop of potato salad. And some kind of shredded meat, piled high on a bun. "Moose meat," I think she called it, but I can be wrong about that.
It was not so good. It tasted just like the beans. Even now they are conspiring. To do awful things to my digestion. I'm running low on moist towlettes. I will not share any further details if you promise to send me your good thoughts.
I was on the old highway for most of the day. I did a few miles on the new. They were at that point one and the same. I was disappointed with the shoulder. It used to be there. You can tell. But they've let it weed over. There are still some patches of sharp little rocks. They were most unkind to my toes.
The day before last I spent an hour trimming away the dead bits. And gathering them and throwing them away. I am not an animal. Though they may have had a place in the James museum, right next to my baby teeth.
The problem is I trimmed too much. One so does like to be thorough. But I left myself with pretty pink skin which is not yet used to life on the road. And inclined to complain. And feel sorry for itself. It took me back, it did. To the very earliest weeks of this trip. When I was in constant pain.
You would have quit. I didn't. I've got nothing else to do.
I am worried too about my right foot. My bones are turning to pudding. I think if I went and got it x-rayed the doctor would tell me to stop. But I think it is a lot like my backpack. It can go any time. But with a little luck and favorable winds it will carry me to Florida.
Meanwhile I'm popping aspirin. It is two dollars a bottle. All the fancy medicines cost something like eight or nine bucks. A fellow can get his beard trimmed for that kind of money. I refuse to brook the expense. The opiates are even more. In the future, when I'm really rich.
Tomorrow I turn left towards Alabama. I don't believe I'll go to Mobile. It is just too big a town and there may be a trick to getting across the bay. I could write and ask but screw it. I really am sick of bridges. You don't know how close I came to dying on my way across the Ohio.
The little bridges are almost as bad. I crossed two or three tonight. It was almost dark. It took muscle contol. I had baked beans for lunch. Tomorrow I angle up Something-or-other Bridge Road. I don't like the sound of it. These bridges are narrow. People pass on them as a point of hillbilly pride. I dislike heights; I've got forty pounds on my back and the railings are even with my knees.
Mom, if I die and if you don't want it, send my banjo to my friend Simon. Give my horns to Larry. Donate my papers. Stuff my cat and bury him with me. Call your new cat James Harry Pierce.
A FEW DAYS ago I passed Minnow Bucket Road. I think that's a wonderful name.
ARMADILLERS have tails. Armored like the rest of them. They sure are a weird little critter.