Something happened to me the other day:
I have been so stressed out and struggled with mental issues the past few months. In this state that I have dealt with for 29 years, it is easy to focus on all that is wrong in my life and I am constantly having to redirect my thoughts.
Yesterday morning as I was going into town for breakfast, it was a wet misty morning. When I got to the end of my road to turn on the 221 mess (not complaining just explaining) there was this old man walking with a stick and a backpack. I decided to see if he needed a ride into town. He thanked me and was gonna throw his backpack on the back of my truck but I told him to put it in the backseat. He said he didn’t want to get my truck dirty and I laughed and said there was nothing back there to worry about.
As we rode into town I made small talk and found out he was on a mission to start his life over due to bad luck and bad decisions. I then noticed then that his jacket was covered in dirt and leaves in one side and he smelled “earthy”. He spoke of other places that he had come from and I never asked where he was from originally, but it wasn’t Boone and he was trying to get to Ashe like I had assumed. He wasn’t even sure where he was headed in Virginia…….
I asked if he had had breakfast and he just looked down and said no. So I said I was headed to breakfast if he wanted to join me and I would pay for it. He glanced over at me and said “are their any strings attached?” That was a gut punch to me. I couldn’t help wondering what had happened to this man for that to be his first thought. I told him of course there wasn’t. So we went and ate and discussed his route because he had never been here before and had no map. As he was eating I couldn’t help but notice the wrinkles and how he was hunched over and seemed so happy, yet exhausted as he ate.
We finally left and I took him to 16 and pointed him towards Mouth of Wilson. But just before he got out, we exchanged names and he asked how old I was and I told him I had just turned 48. His eyes lit up and he said “me too!” I hope I hid my surprise. This man looked like he was in his mid sixties but was my age and literally had nothing but what would fit in that backpack. Yet still had the gumption to look for a place to start from scratch! As he got out he shook my hand and thanked me….. I should have thanked him…. my life isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot closer than it was the day before.