Sunday, May 27, 2007
Today someone asked me what I thought of the war. Usually I say that I don't have enough information to make an educated decision. Today I thought that from what I see going on, I don't think most of the country believes our troops are fighting for our freedom or that they have put themselves in harms way so that we don't have to be there. If I truly believed that, I could not do enough for them; for for me, either someone is lying or there is something I don't know.
At the shelter, I met Big Cat (6'3", 275lbs), ex Intelligence, working for AOL now, Laugh Track, Squirrel, Pain Train, Short Sticks, and 2 others I don't remember their trail names. Having no tv or radio, being punchy, we entertained ourselves by talking. Dropping the trappings, pretenses, and political correctness, it got very funny. It is one of those things where you have to be there with a bunch of people that drop the names given them and take on ones they make up for their journey within.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Made it to Erwin, TN; staying at Uncle Johnny's (a hostel). Met Unicycle Pirate who spent about 1hr making a homemade stove. When I am on the trail, it seems simpler things make me happy and doing things with my hands or being ingenious satisfies me just like how happy Unicycle Pirate was when his stove worked. When back home, I let tv and all its other distractions take that away from me. Like when I was little and played with the box the present was in for days.
Trying to hook up with press. It's Memorial Day weekend, so it may not happen till tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Got an interview with the Erwin paper (Jim is 1/2 polish), then left at 10am going 12 miles and meeting some vets and a guy whose wife divorced him, took the 4 children, and took up with his boss. The betrayal is similar to the troops believing the gov. and me, then coming home to find the gov and I lied. First they don't want to believe it, but when they do, that is when the damage really begins.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Before I left camp, I talked to the guy whose wife left him. He said he wasn't sure if he should be out here. I told him that I know I am no food for anyone else unless I am good for me; you will do the right thing if you show how you want your boys to grow up and be the type of man you want your daughter to marry. He was silent and then agreed; I said I don't mean to preach, but I have been there.
In a way, the gov and it's politicians could be likened to our parents and the way the media hypes up the negative stuff. I can understand why our country is (so it seems to me) so self-absorbed. If all our politicians (the way the media has me believe) are in it for their own interest, why shouldn't I be too? It is sad, how do I change it? If the media did this kind of coverage on JFK and Martin Luther King, would they have been as effective?
Came up the trail to Mismatch who was just starting there. Pale white, eyes wide open, and sweating. He said did you see the bear cub over your head and the mother by the tree? I said no, I lost my glasses 400 miles ago. Probably a good thing?
Checked my messages and got a call from Johnson City, TN t.v to do a story tomorrow noon. I asked him to bring a roast beef sandwich and a 6 pack of Yoo-hoo. He said 'No problem'. I said 'Bless you my son'.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Last night I stayed at Hogback Ridge shelter and met Kool Aid and his friend who was in the Army Reserves who confirmed what I hear about the salaries of the guys working for defense contractors.
In the morning, Kool Aid asked if I believed in ghosts. I said yes, so he showed pictures he took of his campsite. It blew me away. You could see two people in it - he is sending me a copy for the website.
Met with Darius of Channel 11 News from Johnson City, TN. They did a lot of footage; we'll have a copy of that, too, as soon as we can get it.
Made it to Jerry Cabin Shelter. Water has been getting sparse and springs are drying up. I haven't washed more than my feet since leaving Erwin, and tonight, I won't even do that.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Met SOS (what an appropriate name) who, it seemed, was a bit angry and impatient. His brother got back a year ago from Iraq and he's not the same; how many times have I heard that? He is getting help even after discharged. Is it enough? Could they have started sooner? Is it fair that family should also pay the price?
Met 3 Days, a 66yr old retired Rocket Scientist. We talked of one of the greatest mysteries of life - how a woman thinks! What I like about the great mysteries are that you always find someone that has a different point of view and that it doesn't matter because...we will never know.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
At the shelter, I met Mouthpiece, who had worked with nuns that knew Mother Theresa. He told a story how when she first started, locals wanted her out because she would convert Muslims to Christianity. They complained to the authorities who went to check. What they saw was her administering oil to a sore on a man as worms came out of his skin. The authorities told the locals, the day you and your family do what she does, I will throw her out.
Met a trooper and his wife walking. Told him what we are doing. He shared that his buddy (also a trooper) did a tour in Iraq. When he got back, his wife left him, so he got remarried and seemed to have gotten on with his life. The went to a ball game, and when they got home, he went in ahead of her and shot himself, leaving no note. How many more stories like this do we have to hear. I have heard enough. I am ready to write, talk, walk, whatever it takes.
In Hot Springs, I went to the hot springs, soaked and got a massage (my back has been making itself known), then hung out with some north bound hikers (Ant, Swoop, Lazy Bones) and a girl that joined them for a few weeks. She was fascinated that the A.T. had its own culture - friendly, accepting, and party animals to name a few qualities she was drawn to. But she was concerned ab out her sisters drinking and drugging. She told me she had talked to her. I said preach, she said yes. I said on one hand you preach and in the other you are drinking in front of her, so actually, you are giving her permission to drink and judging her. I said I don't drink or do drugs so that my boys won't and so I won't be ashamed to look them in the eye. My actions speak 8 times louder than my words.
Paralleling this to the troops; when I didn't speak up or write to my representatives, I gave them permission to treat them the way they are being treated now. That is no longer true for me; my reps don't have my permission to not honor my/our commitment or word to the troops.