Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 20 - Meridian To Montgomery



Today was another short day mileage wise, but I was able to find many of the people I met along the walk. I didn't leave the motel until after 9, so only covered around 155 miles total. My first stop was at a convenience store to see Susan Williams and her daughter Shannon whom I met on day 103 of the walk. Unfortunately they weren't working, so not a good start for the day.

I soon was in Alabama, and the next stop was in Demopolis at the Foscue House Restaurant where I ate lunch on day 105 of the walk. I arrived a little before opening time, but was still able to talk a few minutes with the owners, Rick and Tracy Adams. They seemed to be doing well 2 years later, I left some Virginia apple butter behind, and headed east.

Finding Betty and William Eatmon was not as easy. I met on them on hwy80, east of Demopolis, on day 106 of the walk. Betty had passed by me, turned around and came back, and gave me all the money she had at the time.....$2. She then called William and told him to bring me some coffee.....and he did. Not knowing where they lived, I checked a local phone directory and found only 1 Eatmon......Lucy. Luckily it was their daughter and she gave me their number.

I called, talked to Betty and she sent her son to meet me. But, I had already passed their house, so it took a while for us to find one another. We finally did, and I followed to their house. We had a nice visit, I took a few pictures, and left behind apple butter. I headed east and passed through a small community named Uniontown.

I called Jerome Williams, and luckily he was at home. (He travels much of the time.) I soon found his place, and we had a good time talking about the walk and stuff going on in his life. Jerome (pronounced Jeremy) is a jack-of-all-trade....he's a crop dusting pilot, has catfish ponds, mechanic, refurbishes those FEMA trailers and transports all over the US, etc. Since I was last there, he's earned his helicopter certification, and dug 4 new catfish ponds. I asked about piloting a crop dusting plane, and he said "you need to have a little crazy inside to do that".....I can understand. I could talk to Jerome for days, but no time for that.....have to keep moving.

My next stop was the Hampton Inn in Selma, where I spent the night on day 107 of the walk. On that cold, rainy night, Rufus Ford, General Manager, had invited me to stay at the motel instead of sleeping in the tent.  He wasn't working today, but the woman who was working called him, he was nearby, and soon was at the motel with his wife and daughter.  We had a nice visit, and he was even wearing a walkingman t-shirt.

Rufus told me this story: inspired by my walk, he decided to walk every street in Selma while carrying a large American flag. Although some who knew him thought he was losing it, the walk was well received by people of all ages. He told how it helped him and others view each other in a more positive way, and said the young people were especially receptive to his walk....some even joined him. He's a nice guy who's trying to have a positive influence on his community.

My final visit for the day was with Betty and Ken Schroeder. Betty had passed me on the road during the walk, and being a little bit curious, sent Ken out to find me and see what I was doing. We've talked occasionally since then, and I told them I was going to be in the area and wanted to visit. I tried calling them several times earlier today, but no answer. I found their house, and was sitting in their driveway writing a note when they drove up. They'd been in town running a few errands.

We had a nice visit. Both are from this area, and Betty was born not 2 miles from their current home. They own a farm which is leased out, this year for growing cotton. Ken drove me out to the farm to look around. There's a small house used by friends and family when they're hunting or just want to get together. Deer were constantly running across the road in front of us. We drove back to the house, visited a while longer, took a few pictures, and I had to get on the road. I know this won't be the last time I see Betty and Ken.

It was dark when I finally reached Montgomery, and I somehow became disoriented and lost Hwy80. Finally stopped at a Verizon place, asked directions, and found a motel nearby. I stopped for something to eat, and was settled in and comfortable by the time the Cowboys / Redskins game started. My supply of both sodas and apple butter is getting low, so this trip has to end sometime soon. Today was a good day, and the weather was much improved. Most likely I'll be somewhere in Georgia this time tomorrow.

- The wooded area on the left is where I camped on day 103 of the walk. A small truck stop is in the background, and the interstate is directly behind where I was standing to take the picture;
- Rick & Tracy Adams, owners of the Foscue House restaurant in Demopolis;
- William Eatmon & Lovell Zanders....wife Betty was attending to a grandchild at the time;
- Jerome Williams, crop duster, etc. Notice parts of 4 catfish ponds in the background;
- Rufus Ford. wife Latanga, and daughter Fatima;
- Downtown Selma, with the Edmund Pettus bridge in the background;
- Ken Schroeder at the farm;
- Ken and Betty Schroeder.

Note: click on the pictures and they'll get larger.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Jeff.....
    Although I have been sick with the flu, I have been following you closely as you made your trek back towards home. Haven't heard from you for a couple days. You're not still in Montgomery, are you???? Hope all is OK.