Bill approached me a few moments ago as I sit here in the corner of Java Ranch located on Main in downtown Fredericksburg. I’ve noticed as I’ve been cycling through the Hill Country that everyone has a ranch in Texas.
Bill is the Lieutenant Governor of his local Rotary chapter. He shares with me how he has pedaled his bicycle through all fifty states in one fell swoop, and he has also traversed the country by bike a half a dozen times, from sea to shining sea.
His voice has a warm Texas drawl and carries with it a genuine friendliness. With sincerity, Bill offers to be at my aid if I should need anything while in this part of the country, handing me his cell phone number and leaving me with these words, “be safe, or have fun”.
Els and her husband Ken were having friends over for lunch just as I was leaving the RV park where I had slept the night before and where they make their seasonal home. She wandered over to my site, curiosity I suppose having gotten to her. I answer a few of her questions about my journey and then our conversation drifted towards our spiritual life’s.
When her guests arrived, Roger and Dairy joining them for lunch, she invited me and Jo in. We all gathered around in their coach, biting into more than one delicious sandwich, a heaping plate of fruit, and before heading out she handed me a bagel, a snack for later. If all of this wasn’t kind enough, Els then swiveled my chair around and kneaded the knots on my shoulders with her hands. It was a motherly love that she showed me, a kindness I won’t soon forget.
After fetching our resupply box of TurboPUP meal bars for Jo and my weekly rationing of Straw Propeller Organic Oatmeal from the post office, we detoured along the river.
On one bridge theirs two ducks out enjoying an afternoon stroll, on another bridge a negotiator is trying to talk a jumper down from an attempt at ending his life. I prayed in that moment and for hours after as I was pedaling that the young man would feel love in his heart, that a divine intervention would take place and that he would change his mind. The headlines in today’s paper confirm that he did indeed choose life.
On my way into Fredericksburg I could see in my little round rearview, a cyclist coming up behind me. We chat for a brief moment while we are in motion. Shane and I both land at the Motel 6 a few blocks up the street. Visiting in his room for awhile he tells me about his raft guiding experiences, his Appalachian Trail adventures and then summarizes his long bike ride, following the same route that I’ve been. I had lost my map a few days ago so Shane let me snap a few pictures of his to help me navigate my way into Austin Texas, another eighty miles east of here.
Jessie is the Top Dog in town providing a shuttle service. I phone him, asking for a ride to the towns favorite hitching post.
I had read in the local TV Guide that Frank Martin and Kevin Higgins, Texas songwriters, would both be gracing the stage at Hondos. During the course of the evening, they exchanged turns, sharing songs they’ve penciled for an appreciative audience. Frank reminds me of Santa, one that can sing like the best of the country music legends. He said he’s only been a singer songwriter for a few years, making me pause to think for a moment that it’s never to late in life to pursue our passions, to chase our dreams.