Special Dedication

I have been blessed all of this journey.  Fortune and luck has had little or nothing to do with it.  There was actually little planning en route more than a week to 10 days ahead.  Nevertheless, my path was rolled out for me most of the time like a carpet.  The struggles I encountered were mostly of my invention and developed because I tried to control the path instead of letting it happen.  Anytime I stopped and really listened, the direction would emerge clearly.  What I am trying to say is that my most successful days and the days I learned the most were those days that I got up and stepped out in faith without expectations.  There have been so many people praying for me that the only way I could have failed is if I had tried to do it on my own.  My forever thanks goes to everyone who kept me in their thoughts and prayers.

It always seems to take me so many repetitions to learn a lesson.  The biggest lesson of this journey I hope I have finally learned and can begin to practice more myself.  From the beginning, there have been those who have given me assistance.  Friends, relatives, and people along the way stepped forward and offered me help in the form of motels, home stays, food, shuttles, and money.  Strangers in cars showed up at opportune moments and offered me water.  In addition to the many individual connections I made, there was also the connection I made with State Farm agents.  Bennett Deane (my agent) got me started by writing a letter of introduction.  My daughter, Dana, began with the letter and later used the agents I stayed with as references, and found food and lodging for me.  Later, the agents themselves,  would call ahead for me and make arrangements with the next agent.  The State Farm agents, as a group and without exception, were of exemplary character.  I cannot say enough about them.  I told many of them that State Farm must have sent them to “Nice School.”  In total I stayed with 20 agents a total of 37 nights.  Some stays were in motels and some were in the agent’s homes.  If I had not connected with them, it surely would have been a different trip, and I feel strongly that I might have packed it up and headed home from Tennessee.

This brings me to this special dedication.  I crossed New Mexico passing through mostly very small towns and did not contact State Farm agents there.  I re-connected with them just after crossing the Arizona border in Eagar.  My crew was leaving Thursday and I needed 3 nights in Eagar.  A connection was made with Todd Bosen, the Eagar agent, and I called him to see what we could work out.  From the beginning Todd was one of the most helpful and giving people I have ever met.  I met him at his office after finishing the day 20 miles short of Eagar.  After being introduced to his staff he took me to his home where I met his wife, Julie.  Todd helped me carry my things into his home and Julie showed me to my room for the stay.  I was told a 3 night stay would be fine and Todd said, “Thank you for blessing us with your visit.”  The next day Todd shuttled me out the 20 miles to my starting point and picked me up at the finish.  During my stay Julie cooked for me and made sure I had everything that was needed.  She offered her car when I wanted to go to the grocery.  I was able to wash clothes and use the computer.  They took me out to dinner.  Every time I would thank either of them the response would be to thank me for allowing them to help or for blessing them with my visit.  We watched Secondhand Lions, one of Todd’s favorite movies and one I had not seen.  I sat down to watch and the next thing I knew Todd had put a cut-up apple by me.  Later I had a phone call and when I returned, there was a bowl of munchies there.  One day I was using the computer and found a glass of water placed by me.  Todd and Julie exemplify everything I have been taught about loving your neighbor and reaching out to others.

The day I left Eagar, Todd drove me to my starting point.  Again, he said, “Thank you for blessing me with your visit.”  I thanked him and reached to shake his hand.  We shook hands and his had a $50 bill in it.  Todd and Julie, I thank you again for all the help.  I am sometimes a slow learner.  The example you showed me is one that was taught to me as a child and one that has been ever-present in this journey.  It seemed to come to rest at your house.  I left your home promising myself that I  would remember your example  and work very hard to practice those principles you illustrate so well.  Thank you.  I love you both.

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