Hiking out from the Jesus is the Answer Deliverance Church just outside of Greensboro, I eagerly made my way down Hicone Street to a Subway for breakfast. Now, mind you, it seems some of the folks in this area can have a hard time smiling...just something I noticed...either that or they simply don't know what to make of a stinky hiker with dirt stained socks and a giant backpack...but as I entered the Subway I was greeted by smiling faces, not only by the girl working the counter, but another man enjoying his breakfast, and most of all by a man named Tony Westmoreland. Tony was on his way to work, getting some breakfast, and while waiting for his order noticed my backpack sitting beside me. So he mosied over and struck up a conversation. Working for the department of transportation, we could relate about being out on the road in the heat of the day on hot pavement, but it didn't seem to get him down. He was simply one of those people that shines. Thank you, Tony, for your friendly demeanor and donation. You paid for my breakfast!
Hiking on that day, I met another nice man, Harold. Harold was out walking his dog as I neared the end of my miles. He was the very first person to approach me by saying, "Are you hiking the Mountains-to-Sea Trail?" To which I exclaimed, "Oh my God! You know what I'm doing!" He had met another hiker along the road last year and so had come to find out it passed right by his house. I told him I was headed to the Union Ridge Church for the night, not more than 1/2m up the road and he agreed it'd be a good place to stay. I told him it was a pleasure to have met him and we said our goodbyes. Well, well, well, just as I'm about to head out from the church the next morning, who appears but Harold! He was there to take me to breakfast. I'd already eaten, but I could definitely summon up an appetite for a second breakfast at the local grill, McCory's, and with such fine company. What a treat to share breakfast with someone, as well as to be welcomed into the Saturday morning family at McCory's. I do believe I chatted with every person in there and the food was delicious. To top it off, Harold hiked on with me for two miles up the road, giving me my first local hiking partner and first company since the girls back in Asheville. He also helped me fend off a nearby not-so-friendly dog. It was a pleasure to hear your stories, Harold and to get to know you so well. Thank you for your gift as well - I'm putting it to good use right now! I'll let you know when I get to the beach!
|Me with Tyler (one of the children from the Vacation Bible School), Harold, and Janice outside McCory's Grill|
Speaking of the Union Ridge Church - oh my, oh my! The generosity and welcome I received here. As I strolled on up, without any notice of my coming, I saw a full parking lot and a crowd of children as well as a few adults filing out of the nearby activity building. I suddenly wondered if my presence would be a bother. I walked towards the sanctuary. Well, I'd hardly set down my pack, when several women approached me asking me if I'd like to come in and have some food, enjoy the air conditioning, and use the bathroom. Uh, yes, yes, and yes! I'm sorry I cannot recall everyone's name whom I met, but I do remember your faces. Deborah, you introduced me to everyone and made sure I knew where to set up my tent and showed me around. Janice, you provided me with all kinds of wonderful snacks, as well as greeted me at McCory's the next morning, serving me more wonderful food along with a smiling face and kindness. Pastor Dan, you opened up your church to a stranger and made them feel at home. Ginger, your trail mix and PB helped me along all the way to today- I don't know what I would have done without them! And the children - oh what fun it was to hang out with all of you. I had arrived during an evening of Vacation Bible School and the kids were preparing for their final musical presentation on Sunday. I got to sit in and watch them preform, led by a most talented woman (Donovan's mother), and later got to make friendship bracelets with them during arts and crafts time. What a thrill.
One special woman, Carrie, actually invited me into her home, allowing me to take a shower and cooked me my first home cooked meal since hitting the trail, with veggies from their own garden. I got to meet her husband, Blare who is chief at the Burlington fire department, and one of their dogs, Clyde. They also have two children who were over at grandma's house for the night. Carrie, your cooking was amazing and thank you so much for doing so much at the spur of the moment. Blare it was a pleasure to meet you, keep workin' on that CSA- it is bound to rain again someday! Carrie also presented me with a mug of coffee the next morning, at 6:45am on a Saturday! All I have to say is: WOW. Thank you for inviting me into your home.
|Blare and Carrie|
After leaving the church yesterday morning, I made my way on down the road, for another 15m when I came to a store called A Week in Treasures. Here I got a cold soda and was invited to come sit out back under the shade tree with owners Phillip and Rhonda, and good friend Grady. It was just the rest I needed. We sat and shared stories and laughs and got to know each other. It was fun to peer around the store and see all the different things Phillip and Rhonda had to offer- truly a treasure trove. And what fun it was to see you down the road later on that day while on your way to the racetrack, when I was just 3m from my next church for the night. Grady, it was very kind of you to offer me a ride- and you sure did try and persist(!) - but being that I'm hiking the trail, I must hike it. Still a nice offer. Y'all made me feel like one of the locals, waving and saying hello like I'd been there in Orange County for ages. Thank you for the notebook as well, Phillip it will go to record many wonderful plants.
|Phillip, Rhonda, and Grady|