August 8

Entered Kansas this morning and only walked 9 miles into the town of Sabetha. One guy stopped and said, “Hey dude, the rains coming in.” and then he wished me well and left. No one else stopped because I didn’t give them opportunity. It started sprinkling and there in front of me was a motel with the right price. THAT means, I’m going to share a story from my first walk across America in 2001. Very appropriate because in occurred in Kansas:

I was in Kansas, and it was hot. For the last two days I had been suffering from chafing in the groin area, commonly referred to by us guys as, ‘crotch rot.’ Well, while eating at a diner earlier in the day, I was talking with the cook and he told me he heard that the heat index was already 101 degrees. I mentioned that I would have a miserable day walking due to my chafing problem until I was able to get to a store to purchase some medicated powder. The sympathetic cook told me that he had just the thing and went into his kitchen. He came out with a one-gallon Zip-loc bag filled with cornstarch. “Here,” he said, “This’ll fix you right up. Works better ‘n any damn drugstore stuff!”
Later in the day as it became even hotter, my little problem started becoming unbearable. I was looking for a place to step off the road and address the problem with large amounts of cornstarch. There was another problem; there was nothing to hide in or even behind of, to treat myself, to powder my behind, if you will. In Kansas, the state tree is a telephone pole. The highway was straight and there was neither tree nor building in sight. And there was lots of traffic so I definitely needed some concealment.
Finally, I spotted a little gas station off in the distance. As I approached the much needed oasis, I was stopped by one of a group of migrant Mexican workers who were standing around refreshing themselves from a day of hard work in the fields. He spoke English, however, with a very strong accent, “Hey, watchyoo doin’ muhn? Watchyoo sign for muhn?” I was in a huge hurry and really did not want to engage in conversation at that moment. I was in a lot of pain. I answered, “I’m just reminding everyone to love life, that’s all.” He nodded and asked, “Watchyoo name Muhn?” At that moment I felt my old Appalachian Trail ‘trail name’ to be quite appropriate and told him, “No Clue.” And not wanting to be rude, I explained, “Hey man, I can’t really talk right now I’ve got to get to the restroom real quick, I will talk with you later.” As I started for the door to the gas station, the inquisitive Mexican stopped me with, “No muhn, the baffroom in the bach muhn.” “Oh, thank you.” I said, and headed for the rear of the building.
To my anguish, both the men’s and women’s restrooms had “out of order” on the doors! The building was located fairly close to the totally straight highway which made it difficult to not be seen by the numerous automobiles driving past! But I was desperate, I moved as close to the building as possible and dropped my drawers. I reached into the one gallon Zip-Loc bag, came out with a handful of cornstarch and slapped it on my behind. I can now relate as to why an infant coos when powder is applied to its behind. It felt wonderful. I wanted to assure the job was done thoroughly, so I quickly grabbed another handful and applied it to the front part. I then pulled up my shorts as quickly as possible and headed for the front of the building so as not to draw attention to myself. In my joy of a powdered butt, I had forgotten just how light cornstarch is and how it fills the air when using. I stepped back around to the front of the building to where the inquisitive Mexican and his friends were laughing. “Hey No Clue, you gonna’ haff to slow down muhn!” “What?” I answered dumbfounded. In a fit of laughter, he said, “You gonna’ haff to slow down muhn, dey’s smoke comin’ out you ass!” The guy standing next to him, also laughing, said, “No muhn, it too late muhn, dat’s white smoke muhn! You dun blowed up you motor muhn!” This brought even more laughter from the two. I didn’t care, my butt was powdered, I was coo-ing, and good to go! I don’t always plan on making people laugh, but it sure is nice when it happens. LOVE LIFE and make people laugh every chance you get!

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