August 10

In my tent at the edge of a cornfield outside a tiny spot, Home, Kansas. I did 25 miles today. I will walk the 5 miles into Marysville and then take U.S.77 south into Manhattan, Kansas. Not many curious in this area, only one person stopped, and that was to give me water. So, that means another story from a previous walk:

2001 0n my first walk across America. I had just walked into Ste. Genevieve, Missouri where I was planning to catch a ride on the ferry across the Mississippi to Illinois when a car pulled up with three young women, probably all in their early twenties. The two young ladies in the front were excited about my sign and insisted I tell them all about it. The young lady in the back seat however, seemed to have no interest at all. In fact, she seemed aggravated at me and every time I gave her the common courtesy of looking in her direction from time to time, she would turn her head away. I was not deterred at all due to the excited questioning coming from the other two. This was my first trip across America and I was still having a hard time telling of my son’s suicide and I became very emotional. I told everything in detail, of how my son’s self-centered decision had near destroyed the lives of me, his mother, and his sister. Of the horrible pain it had caused his other relatives and friends. I told of how I was coming to realize that the pain would never go away completely, that I would just have to adjust to living with it. I started crying when I told of how I didn’t want any other parent to ever have to go through the living horror I had to face after my only son’s suicide. The young sweet driver told me she wanted to take my picture and would I mind waiting while she went home to get her camera. I told them I was walking to the ferry dock that was still a couple miles away and I would look for them. About 45 minutes later they found me and the driver emerged from her car with camera in one hand and a twenty in the other. I immediately started protesting and insisted the money wasn’t necessary. She kept walking toward me and when she got close enough to me, she got a very serious look on her face and she whispered, “You have to take this money, please!” She was motioning back toward her car with her eyes. I could see that there was more of a motive than just handing me the money. As she handed me the money, talking very fast, she whispered to me, “Look, you may very well have saved our friends life! She tried to kill herself just a few days ago and has been under watch at her parent’s since being released from the hospital. Her parent’s reluctantly let her go with us for awhile today because we are her best friends. On the way to my house to get the camera she started crying and apologizing to both us and saying over and over that she had had no idea the pain she was causing! She was really hurt by what she was ignorantly doing to the people who care about her!” And as she was telling me where she wanted me to pose for the pictures, she sneaked in another whisper with tears in her sweet caring eyes, “Thank you sir!” That little girl in the back seat was certainly blessed with two fine friends.

That “LOVE LIFE” sign, many times causes just the right people to stop. See the power of LOVE LIFE? Now, go LOVE LIFE!