As I type this, I’m sitting on a bench in Old Salem, NC waiting for Moravian Bookstore & Gift Shop to open. I left Charlotte yesterday afternoon, stopping along the way to visit Jetton Park on Lake Norman in Cornelius, North Carolina. A friend and I headed that way the day before but it started raining so when I decided to visit Marian in Winston-Salem, Jetton Park was a must stop and it didn’t disappoint! I found a bench shaded by trees on the shoreline where I journaled, snapped a few pictures, and even dipped my toes in the water. It was lovely!!
I met Marian and her husband Jeff in The Badlands of South Dakota a few weeks ago, the day after we both visited Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument. We didn’t run into each other then, though. It’s rare that you connect with people upon first meeting but we did that day so when Marian extended an invitation to visit, I accepted. We dined, talked about our travels, and drank the best scuppernong wine I’ve ever tasted. Hmmm, I think I just caught a whiff of it!
As Marian and I talked, I was reminded of events that happened before and after Daddy died in 1975 that left me with fear, sadness, anger and maybe even hatred for white people. I repressed those emotions and quite a few memories for over 30 years but they started coming forward several years ago as I recuperated from a broken ankle. It was a painfully difficult process but I’m very fortunate to have released and resolved most of them and my road trip has been instrumental in releasing a few more.
But since my last post, I’ve made new friends and also visited my friends Olga Maddox in Arlington, VA and Brenda Simpson-Carrion in Charlotte. It was a gorgeous day as Brenda and I strolled through uptown admiring the buildings and murals. We had breakfast at Showmars in Independence Tower, and I tried livermush for the first time. It looked a lot like scrapple but tasted distinctly different. It was good.
I’ve toured and tasted in Milwaukee’s Miller country; tried chocolate fudge cheese, venison and elk jerky at the Cheese Castle in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
I’ve seen Michael Jackson’s childhood home and the memorial erected after his death at 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana. I also added my sentiments to his fans’ memorial fence.
I’ve seen Lake Michigan, Oprah Winfrey’s studio, and the Michael Jordan statue at United Center in Chicago.
I’ve seen the stadiums where the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bulls, and the Indianapolis Colts play.
I’ve seen state capitals in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.
I’ve walked where Presidents Harrison, Adams and Jefferson walked in Indianapolis, Montpelier, and Monticello.
I’ve walked where the Hatfields and McCoys feuded in Pike County, Kentucky and Mingo County, West Virginia.
I’ve seen the home of the real John Boy Walton, author Earl Hamner Jr., in Schuyler, Virginia.
I’ve seen the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC with my good friend Olga on a still Monday morning.
I’ve visited towns with familiar names (Athens, Morrow, and Fayette County, Ohio) and streets and towns with funny names (Memory Lane in Green Bay, Wisconsin; Zigzag and Rhododendron, Oregon; and Bat Cave, North Carolina).
I had my first convent experience at the Sisters of Saint Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana.
I’m in the home stretch now, though, and feeling a little sad that my road trip is coming to an end. The first thing I’ll do when I “reenter the atmosphere” is get the emissions test for my car so I can get my tag by June 4.
It’ll be good to see family and friends, of course, and I’m looking forward to seeing my lake at Indian Springs. I’m also looking forward to other firsts: photographing a wedding and an interview about my trip. Beyond that, I don’t really know but I’m open to whatever else God has in the works.
It’s been an incredible journey, and I’m grateful for each experience along the way. I’m thankful, too, for the friends who followed me on Facebook and read my blog. What really surprised me, though, was the number of people who sent Facebook friend requests so they could follow me, too; I look forward to meeting you soon. It’s been great sharing with you, and I thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement along the way.