Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day One-Hundred-Sixty-Six, Tombstone

A man I met in Henderson told me it was going to rain. I chose to disbelieve him. My little computer promised clear skies. The rain came at four a.m. I was awake. I am going to sleep awfully early these days. There is not a lot to do in my tent after the sun goes down.

I don't so much mind walking in the rain, not if I'm going somewhere. Home to dry clothes and a hot shower. A little wet ain't going to kill you. But when you're just walking walking walking... Read your Victorian novels. Back then if you went out in the rain you were dead two chapters later.

The worst I'll get is a case of the snoofles. I might feel sorry for myself. But self-pity is always good sport and I've been snoofling since Nebraska. But I figured I'd wait until nine or so to see if it cleared up. I ate a Pop-Tart and read my Bible. I hacked some dead bits off my feet. I listened to Nicholas Nickleby and entertained dark thoughts.

The rain did stop eventually. I rolled up a muddy tent. And spent half an hour making a bridge to get back up to the road. I had set up in a sort of swamp, spongy but not too too damp. Now I was on a small island in the middle of a giant mud puddle.

It was eerily warm. Before too long the sun cooked off the clouds. And it was another summery day, if you kept out of the shadows. I hoped to find breakfast in Bethel Springs but there was not very much there. Just one big house, a few dozen small ones and a beautiful elementary school. It didn't look the least like a prison. It was the nicest thing in town.

Bethel Springs, Tennessee has seen better times. I'm told Elvis had his first concert there. And worse. It was home to Unionists in the Civil War. They did not get along with their neighbors. They moved the highway some years back. Now most of the businesses are closed. I counted one antique furniture/junk shop and a tombstone factory.

I've seen several of these in past few days, some bigger than others. I remember one in South Dakota with display samples out front. PIERCE was carved into one of them. I thought it was in very poor taste.

I was geting pretty hungry at this point. There was nothing to do but walk to Selmer. Which was up and over some steepish hills down four miles of country road. There is a trend in these parts, amongst those who can afford it, to live in enormous homes. Plantation style with great white columns. I don't think they're all antiques. But they're built substantially, as in back in the day. They must cost a fortune to heat. Dusting alone must set you back, now that you've got to pay your help.

The north end of Selmer didn't promise much. It got better soon. Selmer is a town of some five-thousand people. I found a great cafe. And had the best breakfast I've had in weeks, though they'rs famous for slugburgers. Which contain not slugs but soybeans and are unique to this locale.

I had a lot of fun sitting there, absorbing the local scene. Pat, my good hostess, was effusively friendly. Everyone was nice enough. It is, I'm sure, a Tennessee thing. I wish I had longer in this state. But I am by necessity just passing through. I don't stay anywhere as long as I'd like.

You might think Walking Across America is a good way to see the country. It is as far as riding an escalator is a good way to see a department store. It gives you some sense of the scale of the place. You see what they have on offer. But you don't make a lot of lasting friendships and a lot of it goes unexplored.

You do get to try on a lot of shoes. So there's that.

I hiked over to the library, some distance out of my way. I am still having some difficulty with my little computer. It's bleeding power. It's a software thing. And I don't know how to plug the hole. But I have learned something about the Droid operating system. It sucks.

Samsung sucks. Droid and Samsung suck.

The library was closed of course. I headed back to my road. And walked another ten miles or so. Maybe less. I don't know. I don't dare waste my battery power looking it up. Without checking my map I rarely have any clear idea where I am.

I am now in a vast hay field or on the very edge of one. Between a thinnish row of grasses and shrubs, as close as I can get to the highway. Cars can't see me once it gets dark. Hunters can see me for miles. It'll be harder come the weekend with more bullets in the air.

It is meant to be damnably cold tonight, at or around freezing. I guess I'll be warm enough if not as warm as I'd like. A bit bored though. These long long nights are a bit on the lonesome side.


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