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Subj: Damascus, Arkansas
Date: 2/10/2003 7:18:19 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: kbwalk@mymailstation.com

Howdy Everyone!
  Small town America is alive and well!  I've been meeting some great
people these last few days, and am having a great time.  When I was in Marshall
I stayed with Hilda and Jolena.  They are both in their 80's and do
Bible-study services to schools and groups. 
   They took me to the Senior Center there, and I gave a talk about
epilepsy and about my walk.  By being there at the Senior Center, the director
contacted a friend who lives in Dennard -- a tiny little town with no
businesses, just homes.  They also contacted another lady in Clinton, where I'd be
going after Dennard.
   On the day I was planning to leave and go to Dennard, we woke up to
around 5" of snow, so I stayed put for another day while the roads were
cleared.  Jo and Hilda were so nice!  I also visited with the editor of the
weekly newspaper there.
   From there I walked to Dennard and stayed with Linda Vallery.  When I
met her there at the Senior Center (she works there), she gave me a key to
her house so I could enter when I got there, before she got off work at
5:00.  The directions she gave me were to pay attention after I crested a long,
steep hill and look for her mailbox.  Well I found the long, steep hill
with no problem, and was certainly glad when I crested it (it was 2.5 miles!)
Her house was just a quarter mile from there, so I used the key and went
inside.  It always amazes me when people allow me to go in their house
before they get home, but when they do let me do that, I tell them all the same
thing.
I tell them that I'll be looking for 2 things when I get to your house:  a
shower, and an easy chair.  So that's what I did at her house.  I was glad
to get there after climbing all those hills.
   Speaking of hills, I think I'm almost out of them.  So far I've gone
over the Cascades, the Rockies, the Appalachians, the White Mountains, the
Green Mountains, the Adirondacks, and now the Ozarks -- and I'm from flat
Kansas.  The mountains are unbelievably beautiful, majestic, and spectacular
-- just don't be a dumb fool and think you gotta walk up 'em all!! Anyhow,
they're all telling me that after I get past Conway, it'll be flat clear
down to New Orleans.  At that point I'm hoping it'll also be flat on to
Florida and also up the east coast to DC.  I'm hoping.
   Linda got home that evening, and after fixing a wonderful roast &
potatoes supper, she had a Bible Study group meet at her house.  They asked me
to give a talk about my walk, and they were a fun group to be with. 
   On saturday Linda hauled my cart over the hills to Clinton, where I
stayed with Mary Faye Woodard.  She's over 80, and was a real pistol.  Her
daughter Billie lives a few houses down, and the two of them were a lot of
fun.  Billie wasn't sure at all about her mother inviting a total stranger to
stay with her, but after we met she thought it was ok.  They drove me out
to see Choctaw Lake, and it looked beautiful with snow still on the ground
and in the mountains behind.
   I went to church with them on Sunday at the Methodist church, and the
pastor there contacted the pastor at the church in my next town, Damascus.
They said I could stay there, so the next day they hauled my cart again and
I walked to Damascus.
   The weather was beautiful today, and now it's suppose to warm up into
the 50's.  That'll be a good change.  I got into Damascus, population 308,
this afternoon and found the church with my cart inside.  On my cart was a
letter telling me to help myself to anything in the fridge, and there were
also apples, oranges, coffee, tea, and a pan sitting on the stove covered
with foil.  I lifted the foil and found some vegetable beef soup, and
crackers on the counter beside. 
   I had some stuff to mail, so I headed to the post office.  The lady
there gave me a package and a couple birthday cards and started visiting.  She
told me I needed to go next door and talk to the lady at the City Office,
so I headed there.  Robin was pretty impressed with my story, and asked me
where I was staying.  I said at the church.  She said "No you arent.
You're coming home with me."  And so I did.  I've really enjoyed meeting Keith
and Robin, but I'm especially fascinated with their pet racoon, Boo.  When I
was a kid we had a raccoon, too, and I have some great memories about
Rackey.  Boo checked me out quite thoroughly, and checked all my pockets! 
   Tomorrow I'm going to try to get into the school system and give some
talks, then on wednesday I'll head into Conway, 20 miles away, and spend an
extra day there.

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