October 25, 2007

The Road to Baker

The thing about the Panhandle is, once you get way out in it, you'll notice some wind at your back. You'll look around to see if a storm is coming near, but there's nothing. A blustery wind means a storm in Tallahassee and everywhere else I've been in Florida--unless you're on the water. But not in Jay and Baker in Santa Rosa County. From Walkin' Notes:

Then I got out on the road and I noticed that we have a pretty good headwind today. You usually think about headwinds when you're flying in an airplane, but I was facing a headwind walking on the ground today. I found that the wind was so brisk that it cut 10 steps a minute off my pace. I usually was stepping off at about 120 steps a minute; it cut my pace down to 110. That doesn't seem like too much but the way I was figuring, it was going to add about an hour to my day, so I was a little disgusted with the headwind.

The soil was still damp enough that the dust hadn't started blowing yet, and I was real thankful for that.

I was walking today in some service boots that I haven't worn since I was in Korea. I started thinking back and remembering that it was during the "cease-fire" and we had a Colonel that wanted to keep the troops occupied so that they wouldn't get bored so he had us go on forced marches. I used to lead the column on a 20 mile forced march wearing these boots. At that time I was a first lieutenant and could step our ahead of the column and slip back to the back and pick up stragglers and see how they were getting along and dog-trot back up to the head of the column and march at a clip that would make 20 miles in a day. I was kinda wondering what was wrong with these boots today 'cause I wasn't making quite that kind of time. Maybe it's the 18 years in between and not the boots. Lt. Chiles was still at the head of the column today, but he was having a lot of trouble with Sen. Chiles who was a straggler. Sen. Chiles kept looking for a corpsman, and I think he was looking for a stretcher to ride on.

I met two very fine ladies on the road today, Miss Lilian Killam from Bagdad and Mrs. Abbie Carr from Crestview. They said they'd been reading about me in the paper and were delighted to see me. They stopped and we chatted for a long time. They laughed and said I'd made their day 'cause they were hoping they'd get to see me on the road. I really had a great visit with them.

One of the most pleasant surprises I had today was when I met Mr. Nixon on the road. Mr. Nixon stopped and introduced himself to me and I told him I was running for the U.S. Senate and Mr. Nixon pledged his support. It turned out that this was Mr. Perry Nixon, Route 2, Baker, and not Mr. Richard Nixon, but I was delighted to meet Mr. Nixon and get his support.

Baker certainly is a welcome sight!

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