Day 91 - Thursday, September 21, 1995 - Rita Sebastian reports that she and the rest of the walkers moved efficiently onward from Adamsville to Bolivar, Tennessee.
Sunny and pleasantly cool weather helped. So did the energy generated by the 80 hamburgers donated to the walkers by the White Castle and the Hardees restaurants in Adamsville. James Duncan has a knack for making such requests.
Alycia Longriver has rejoined the walk after spending extra time in Nashville to convalesce from kidney stones and blisters. We spoke on the phone: “It’s good to be back," she said. "But I have to wonder whether I was observing omens today.”
“I was driving along with Tom, and all of a sudden the dog, Major, jumped out of the back of the truck and got injured.
“Then Tom lost two eagle feathers. They flew right out of his possession, whoosh, out the window. They were gone.
"Finally," Alycia said, "the money that Tom was carrying flew right out of his pocket and blew down the highway, money flying around everywhere. All of that happened within an hour.”
Our walk is scheduled to reach Memphis in two days. Reference books say Memphis was named because its place by the river is similar to the setting of ancient Memphis, once the capital city of Egypt. The first Memphis was set along the banks of the Nile River.
Memphis skyline, with the Mississippi River beyond.
The Tennessee city of Memphis is also set on high banks, a crossroads metropolis laid out at the highest point on the Mississippi between New Orleans and the mouth of the Ohio River. This position gives Memphis strategic advantage: everything must sooner or later pass by her bluffs. She is in place to keep an eye on the ceasless flow of the great North-South river, and all that seeks to cross it.
A sense of excitement is building among the walkers as they draw closer to the city and the river, about 50 more miles to the West, Tom tells me.
The walkers will be part of a whirlwind four days and four nights of important public events in Memphis. Thanks to the efforts of the local organizing committee (Beth Sampson and Anne Gillis), the walkers will see and speak with hundreds of people between Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night.
Grandfather Commanda will be with the walk to lend his experience, and his vision. He's flying down from Ottawa. I'll be there, too. I have a chance to spend a week with everyone in Memphis, and to fulfill a mission for the Sunbow 5 Foundation. I've been asked to speak with Tom about the money, and to find out where it's going. I wing off to Memphis in two days.
Headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca, Minnesota.
Long ago, the Ojibway peoples roaming the forests far to the North in Wisconsin, called this vast water flow "Missi Sipi," which in their musical language meant The Great River. Great it is, its currents swollen by the surplus waters flowing from 31 states and two Canadian provinces.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden