July 30

I covered 22 miles today and I’m about 14 miles east of Bedford Iowa on state route 2. The only thing that isn’t soy beans and corn are the houses, barns, and trucks that belong to the farmers growing soy beans and corn. Oh yeah, and there are hills, lots and lots of hills. No one stopped to talk today and so, I’ll share this story from my walk prior to this one, My “Joel Kody Walk:”

At Bedford, Virginia, near the Goodwill store in a strip mall, I was using an outside electrical outlet to recharge my phone and laptop when I watched a really rough looking1964 Plymouth Valiant pull into the parking space in front of where I was standing. Out stepped Randy, a man about my age. He was carrying a much worn guitar case and a folding chair. After he pulled a beautiful and shiny steel guitar from its case, he placed the open case in front of his chair, obviously as a container for appreciative listeners to drop money into. He played the blues; played them damn good: He told me proudly that he never learned to play until he was 25. I told him I loved the blues and asked was he familiar with Roy Buchanan. He said he loved his rendition of the Peter Gunn theme. I agreed. We both agreed on what a true tragedy that such a talent as Roy Buchanan had taken his own life in a jail cell.

I told him I had seen Albert King live and was right up front watching the blues legend perform. Randy expressed envy, said he had most every album Albert King ever made. He strummed that fine instrument continually as we talked. A young black man walked up and placed two dollars in Randy’s guitar case. “Good blues man, real good, thanks,” he said. A guy stepped up next to us and started singing the blues in one of the most talented voices I’ve ever heard. He said his name was Charlie Frazier and after I complimented him on his beautiful voice, he said, “I bought my first house with this voice.” He went on to tell us that he had worked with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Drifters, Gary U.S. Bonds, John Lee Hooker, and the Chantels. After singing along with Randy in a couple more songs, Charlie excused himself saying he had to get a prescription filled. A few minutes later Charlie rejoined us with a bottle in a brown paper bag under his arm and I then realized it was a Virginia state liquor store he had gone into. Charlie left after awhile.

Randy and I discussed the beauty of a Love Life attitude and had some laughs as he strummed his steel guitar and thanked those who threw in mostly change and an occasional dollar or two. A little boy being watched by his mother came up and threw in some change. Randy looked up at him and laughingly said, “Thank you, I do believe you made my quota for the day and I now have enough that I can go home now!” The little boy looked up smiling big at a smiling proud momma. Randy watched me as I unplugged my electronics and prepared to depart and said to me, “Is that all you need, man, a little shot of electricity from time to time? Now that is freedom, man.” Charlie called me the next day; thinking I might still be in the area and offered to share some of the best black bean soup and cornbread I would ever eat in my whole life. I wish I had stayed around. Randy and Charlie gave me my real shot of electricity.

LOVE LIFE my friends and thanks for reading my stories.