It is Christmas. I'm eating Christmas cookies. I'm packing my bags to go. It's the least I can do for my dear friends the Knightens. I've been here for more than a week.
Leave them wanting more, I say. I think my timing is good. They haven't started hating me yet. No one has asked me to go. But they've got to be thinking it. They are nice people but a little James goes a long way.
I had every intention of spending Christmas alone. I rather hoped it would rain. And that I'd go hungry, perhaps suffer a fall. I wanted the poetry. I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted the martyrdom. Sadness can be beautiful. Cookies are good too.
There are Christmas trees with green frosting and sprinkles and baby pecan pies. And two kinds of fudge and the little round cookies my own mother always makes. And there's a tree and there's Christmas music. I played football with the kids. It was nice. I was happy to be here. Thank you, Dennis and Ronne.
They even gave me presents. Ronne gave me new socks. I love them. How very thoughtful. Dennis gave me a fruitcake that weighs almost nineteen pounds. But I'll have the last laugh. I'm going to eat it. I'm going to like it, too.
I should have made better use of the downtime. I should have updated my route map. Or written a play, The Littlest Hobo, or kept my blog up-to-date. Instead I got fat and played Internet scrabble. "Neener" is not a word. Not yet. It will be. I did spend time in church. I know a lot of you were wishing I would.
I don't expect it to take. That's just me. I wish you well with your own Salvation. It's been good of the Knightens to put up with me, heretic though I may be. They are strong in their faith. My demonic influence will not likely leave lasting harm. But they'd have been justified in casting me out. I am the turd in the pool.
They pray a lot, the Knightens do. I'm an affront to God. I never caught them praying for me, but I'm pretty sure they did. Can't hurt. I need all the help I can get. This is not a hard walk. But I'm getting lazy in my old age. I've never been too energetic.
But I do have to walk. I do not have any idea what's ahead. Gators and snakes and poisonous toads. Overzealous law enforcement. I've lost my rhythm. I'll be awkward out there. It will take me two days to discover my stride. But I'll figure it out. I always do.
Until then, let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas. I'd be lost without you. I should have sent cards. I guess you know who you are. You let me sleep on your sofa. You bought me breakfast. You let me play with your dog. You were kind when I most needed it. You read what I wrote. You laughed at my jokes. You made Walking Across America fun.