Friday the 13th… day that is. I’m calling today “My Walk to Scotty’s”, which is exactly what it was. A couple of days ago, I called my my friend Scott, who I knew lived in or around Tyler, TX of course. When I told him I was in Jacksonville, he told me he was “15 miles at most” from where I was, and kindly invited me to stay over at his home, so I relaxed, slept in a bit and left my hotel at about 10. Fifteen miles, no problem…
As I was leaving town, three lovely ladies were in one of their yards, having a smoke. I asked if they were having a good day, they asked me where I was going, so I walked up to the fence and we had a great couple of laughs before they sent me on my way, imploring me to be careful, and included in their prayers. Filled me with happy, I walked off into one of the most beautiful walks of my life, completely unexpected, but definitely welcome. Last week’s open fields, dry, minimal trees, had been replaced by rolling hills, loads of all types of trees. I’m surprised things are still as green as they are, as Texas hasn’t seen serious rain all summer. It was spectacular, a part of Texas I had never seen or knew existed.
Most of the day was spent on what we call a little bitty ol’ country road. There were a few cars and pickups, wave return rate was close to 100%. But mostly it was completely devoid of man made noise, You could hear the breeze through the trees, tons of birds, but the background hum of man was gone. Weather was perfect, hot, but not unbearable, and it made it very easy to walk along.
About 10 miles into the day, I texted Scott, asked him for his address. Scott is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. We worked together for about 10 years at Kodak, and a couple more at Carestream, which was the newly formed company that was once the Kodak Health Division. Scott was always a pleasure to work with - straightforward, dependable, We had some big accounts in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and beyond, and I was not happy when Scott moved on to another company, though we did some work together as recently as last Winter, But Scott has a warped sense of distance and time… His 15 miles max were in fact 23 and a half, which is no big deal when you’re in a nice cool truck, but adds a good couple of hours to a guy’s walk,,, so I plodded on, recalling that Scott is the only guy that has made me miss a plane, made me rush through airports. But I was honored to be his guest, and it was very nice to be in a home instead of a hotel. Thank you Scott and Cherie.
Though my days are mostly running together, I was very aware of the fact that it was a Friday. And I started thinking back on the dozens and dozens of Fridays over the last 15 years that I wasn’t walking along a beautiful country road. Instead, I was packing, checking out, rushing, returning rental car and navigating airports and flights to finally get home after a week of travel, meetings and appointments. And I can safely say that I was more tired then than after having 20 miles today. But it was a different tired. It was filled with stress, and hurrying, and trying to keep up with everything and everyone. Most of those years I was well, but there were a few during which I was not, and I didn’t even realize it. In retrospect, I had fallen into a rut, a relatively comfortable existence, but very routine and not very healthy. I wasn’t exercising routinely, it was more of an occasional weekend warrior hike or bike ride that would keep me sore until the following Thursday, I was eating and drinking too much - easy to do on an expense account. And my body was full of nasty, self-made chemicals that don’t really help one’s outlook. It was a vicious little circle, which fortunately has been broken, I am very happy to be away from that now, grateful for what it was and provided, but so much better off today.
And being a Friday, I was happy to see the increase horse trailer traffic. Lots of show trailers, and it made me think of days past, and made me happy knowing that these folks were off to a show, a rodeo, a cutting horse event, a polo game. Having done countless times before, I know what it entails.. load saddles and bridles, previously cleaned, clean bandages and saddle pads, feed, boots, clothes, buckets, blankets, fly spray,,, it’s complicated. And then thinking about the work these folks had done all week with their horses, getting them ready, hoping for a peak performance this weekend. To you driving along, I’m happy knowing you’re all doing this, and wish you the best of luck.
So on I went… and at the intersection of SH-101 and FM 344, having completed 21.24 miles, and seeing that the next piece of the road was taking me directly away from New York, called Scottie, he picked me up, we drove to his house and had a great evening.