August 20

I did 19 miles today and I’m in a motel a day earlier than I had planned. In the town of Canton, Kansas, I could see nothing but a liquor store and a vacated c-store. I was looking for a place to eat and I knew the liquor store wouldn’t have anything. But I did need ice and I was hoping they might let me charge up my stuff. In Happy Trails Liquor Store I met the owner, Connie. I told her my story and her eyes filled up with tears. I said, “Thank you for the tears ma’am.” On her way to open up a few hours before she had seen me walking. She told me there was a Casey’s C-store just down the road going into Canton that was not visible from highway 56. She suggested that I go ahead and plug in my phone and laptop and go to Casey’s to eat. She also said, “The ice is on me.” Wow. When I came back, Connie and I conversed for quite a while. But a few years ago she lost her husband at the young age of 52, to a heart attack. She asked where my next stop would be. I told her that I was going to I-135 11 miles down the road and find a tent spot and then get a motel room in the morning because I would have some money in my account then to be able to afford it. I really liked Connie, she was one of those “no nonsense” kind of people who only say things that mean something. Outside, getting all my gear together and ready to hit the road, and Connie drives up next to me, she said she had to go get some more change and she hands me an envelope and drives away. The envelope said, “Canton, Kansas “Liquor Store Lady” GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU. I’ll check in on you on Facebook! Connie” Inside the envelope was $60.00, the price of the motels at I-135 in McPherson, Kansas. Wow! About 4 miles out of McPherson, a man got out of his truck and said, “Hey man, I checked out your story on Facebook man… here.” And handed me a twenty. He had ran into Dave Yates’ Superior Liquor Store at Marion, Kansas while I was there and evidently I gave him a card. I’m going to start hanging around liquor stores more I think. As I was getting ready to enter my room at Econo Lodge in McPherson, two guys a couple rooms down yelled out and asked what I was doing. It was Charles and Brandon Jones of Bastrop, Louisiana. They were cooking up Cajun style ribs and sausage dogs in the bed of their pickup. They’re here in McPherson doing a construction job. As soon as I told that my little boy took his own life, Charles reached over and grabbed Brandon around the neck and said, “This here is my boy… I cannot imagine!” Brandon said, “I have four little ones… oh my God.” Brandon reached in his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills and Charles did the same. They gave me seventy dollars! I’ll stay another night I think. As I was thanking them over and over, they both said, “No, thank you, because blessing you blesses us.” Wow! Later, I answered a knock on my door and there stood Charles with two Cajun style sausage dogs in his hand for me. God, were they awesome! You have to LOVE LIFE my friends… these stories are real people doing real life wonderful things for their fellow human being. A stranger even. Is it any wonder that I cry a lot out here.

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