March 14th, 2004, Somerville, TX
Relocated, woke up in the rain, went to church, brought dry clothes with me and changed on the sidewalk under an overhang once I got into town. Responded to the altar call, headed back to campsite, decided to head out, packed up in the rain. Once it stopped, I put Job on top of everything and pulled him a mile or so out to the main road. There was a lot of traffic and no sidewalk or shoulder to walk on, so I reconsidered. Met Tony outside the Catholic Church in town, St. Ann's, when I asked him if I could pull in out of the rain for a minute and regroup. He was with the Knights of Columbus and was preparing dinner for Sunday Bingo in the function hall. He and Don, a head-knight-dude, said we could spend the night under the overhang. The rain was supposed to stop by tommorow so we took them up on the offer and got a free barbeque dinner out of the deal.
March 15th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Headed out of town pulling the pack with Job on top. Yah, I know. I've definitely gone off the deep end. Pulling a pack with a 100lb. dog on top of it across America. To me, it's just another test of my will and my heart (and my ability to not be bothered by people gaulking at me all day.) I was sweatin' buckets. It was pretty hot, for a notherner anyway. We stopped for an ice cream in Lyons, TX and I called Job's vet back in Portland, ME. I had noticed this morning a little bit of grey puss draining from the side of one of the pads on his foot. His cut one was all better by now. She seemed to think it was a foxtail awn which are common in southwestern U.S. and Texas and she told me it will work it's way right up the animal's leg and into their vital organs if unattended. Patrick was coming out of the little store we had stopped at and asked about our journey. We got to talkin'. Turned out he and his wife owned the store. He offered to drive us to Caldwell, the next major town, so I could get Job to the vet first thing in the morning. I took it. While Job is recuperating in the next few days I'll walk back to Lyons to cover the distance on foot. (No short cuts.) I found a field and a stretch of trees not too far from the veterinary clinic to camp for the night. Once he's looked at and on the road to recovery, I'll find us a good spot not too far from town to camp and then look for work to make up for whatever the vet bills amount to.
*Patrick Smotek, for helping me get Job to a vet to make sure he's cared for.
March 16th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Got up, had breakfast, put Job on the cart and wheeled him down the road to the Caldwell Veterinary Clinic. They said they could see him at 11am. We had some time to kill, so I walked us into town to get a map of Caldwell and a local newspaper.
March 17th-18th, 2004, Caldwell TX
It's 5:30pm. I just got off work. I walk in the house and call to Job. He's most likely laying down in the kitchen on the cool linoleum. He comes bombing around the corner and barrells into me. It's hard to notice he even has a limp when he's coming at you that fast. Cliff's car was in the driveway next door. He must have just got off work, too. Job and I walk across the yard and sit down on the porch with Cliff and Candy, Jacque's dog. Jacque doesn't get home until 7. I brought one of Job's bowls and the epsom salt with me, so I can soak his foot again, once in the morning and once in the evening. We sit on the little porch pausing our conversation as the train rolls through town. It's a nice evening. The schools in town are on spring break this week, so there's lots of kids playing in the park across the street. It'll be getting dark soon and the lights over the baseball diamond will come on so the little leaguers can have night practice. I told myself the other night "be careful you don't fall in love with this town before Job is all healed up and it's time for you both to move on."
I hadn't gotten a newspaper the other morning because they didn't come out until Thursday (today). Jacque ('jackie') said
pick one up on her way to work. She said she wanted to see if the article about Job and I had made it into this week's
edition. She works at the Caldwell Civic and Visitor Center which is where I had gone Tues. morning to get a map before
appointment. When I left the visitor center driving Job to the vet in Jacque's car, I was aware how a lot of people would
astonished by how trusting she was with me. I've been through a lot of towns and have seen and been seen by thousands,
point, probably millions of people in the last 7 years. If I truly believed that people like Jacque and all the others I've
met on my journey didn't exist then
now I would have disappeared broken retreating to some remote location never to be seen again. There are many
days I could feel like a fool for believing we are all in this together, but
not today. Faith is not just a belief. It's an investment. If you can't afford to believe in people or trust people
you'll never have it. Jacque could.
She owns the house next door to hers and plans to rent it out again, but until then Job has a home to rest in. Horace is a
plumber in Caldwell and a friend of Jacque's. They bumped into one another at the hardware store. The next thing I new I was
on the job digging a trench for a new water line in Deanville. He might be able to use me again, but I already told
Jacque I'd do some renovating to the house Job and I are in. Job didn't have anything in his foot. Dr. Gordon said foxtail awns don't
come out until fall.
He had developed, for lack of a better word, a blister in between his two front pads from walking on it differently than
normal when his other foot was hurt. I'm no stranger to blisters. Over time your feet toughen and they stop coming, but the
slightest change effects them as the miles add up. Dogs can walk a lot further than people, but this is what happened to Job. The pads on a dog's
feet are similar to
a human finger nail and Job is going to have to grow a new one on the toe that had the "blister" which will take a little time.
Until then I'll be either working on Jacque's house or on not getting too comfortable here. As nice as things are, right now,
that will all change once it's just me and him on the road, again. Jacque called
the local paper the morning we arrived at the visitor center and a photographer and then Ella, a reporter for the
Burleson County Tribune, came by to talk with us then
Pam, from the Chamber of Commerce, came by then Melissa, from City Hall, even Paul, the tough young custodian and groundskeeper came
in and gave me dap. It's not going to be easy. I don't like it here simply because people have been so nice to me. They're
good people because that's
the kind of people they want to be regardless of some guy and his dog passin' through town. Job hurting his foot was just a
way for us to find out first hand.
*Jacqueline Bray, for takin' in two strays.
March 19th-30th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Let Job rest, picked up some work, worked on gear. We can leave whenever we want to, now.
*Michelle Brack for walking across from the playground with her family and introducing herself to me, and for being a friend.
*Pastor John and the folks at Harvest Cove Famliy Church for their hospitality.
March 30th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Got up early for a trial walk before it got hot, got about four miles out of town and checked Job's foot. He was walking (running) fine on it, but his new pad was wearing thin. Headed back to town. It's going to take a little while longer to build up enough thickness. Peachy.
April 4th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Got up early heading for Lyons, TX. Left Job in Caldwell. About 6 miles out of town I got a ride. Tony was headed to Somerville. The clock in his truck said 10am (which was wrong -daylight savings), so I thought I could make it to church and then head back. It was only 4 miles more. Caught half a service, grabbed a banana at the grocery store for my legs and walked back to Caldwell. All caught up.
*Tony, for a ride and a second offer on his way back to Caldwell.
*Young guy in little black import who offered me a ride a few miles outside of town.
April 5th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Job's doin' awesome. Through my new friends Laurie and Mark Emond I've found more work. I'll finish out the week and then we'll hit the road.
April 6th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
Got back from work, checked my email and received some from my brother in California about our mother in Massachusetts.
April 9th-10th, 2004, Caldwell, TX
With the help of my cousin, Bobby and my friend, John, in Maine I was able to get the money I earned this week deposited in my account back home in order to rent a car. Drove to Massachusetts.
*Steve Bond, for his generostiy and prayers.
April 12th, 2004, Boston, Ma
Sitting with my mother in the hospital.