Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 8, Saturday, July 9

Not much sleep last night - there's a big youth baseball tournament going on in Texarkana, and it sounded like an entire team was practicing their headfirst slides in the hall around midnight. We called the front desk and complained ... we have become THOSE old guys now.

We traveled to Vicksburg, Mississippi to visit one of the most important military battlefields from the Civil War. On the way there, Pee Wee pulled off a good deed. He was waiting in line to use the restroom at a gas station, when a guy inside the bathroom couldn't get out - shutting the door was causing the door to lock both ways. They had to force the door open to get him out.  Pee Wee asked for some scotch tape, then taped up the hole in the strike plate along the door jam so that the door wouldn't get locked and stuck anymore. It counts as a good deed for now, but could become a bad deed later in the day if some guy uses the bathroom and there's nobody outside the unlocked door waiting in line.

Vicksburg Military Park is great. It's miles of roads winding around the various battlefields on the outskirts of the city. Monuments and information signs tell of the story in 1863 when Vicksburg was under siege for more than a month until the southern army there finally surrendered. And I love park rangers - they all love their jobs. One such ranger gave us a brief education about part of the park - he was in heaven.

There was much destruction and loss of life on both sides, as well as many acts of bravery in the face of physical pain and agony. This morning, my name was added to that list.

In the first 5 minutes of our 3 hour tour, while walking through a field to see some Yankee made trenches, I stepped on a yellow jacket nest. Two painful stings caused quick swelling on my wrist and ankle. Ignoring the intense heat and huge distances between stations, I trudged on. Mile after mile I went, the pain continued but it didn't stop me. Pee Wee told me to quit whining. That's OK, he just doesn't know what it's like to be wounded in battle. So what if the miles traveled were in an air conditioned car. Who cares about the story of the 14 year old Union soldier who was wounded, but limped and crawled for two hours until he reached General Sherman with an important message. Who cares about the 120 medals of honor that were given there for bravery? Today, July 9, 2016, I too was awarded the purple heart at the Battle of Vicksburg. You can't take that away from me Pee Wee. (My battle weary pain filled photo is below).

After leaving Vicksburg, the scent of home was in the air, so we decided to speed things up and head to Atlanta. We should have been home by 10:30, but the rain all through Alabama made it a little after midnight. And not even two miles from Pee Wee's house, one of the best good deeds presented itself. On Mountain Creek Church Road near Monroe, at 12:15 a.m., we came upon a car on the side of the road with its flashers going. After stopping and putting down the window, a pretty young African American girl of about 20 told us she was on her way home from work when she ran out of gas. We told her to not get in the car with anyone offering help and quickly drove 5 minutes to Pee Wee's house. He removed all of his luggage and then gave me his full two gallon gas can. We hugged a heartfelt goodbye, and then I returned to give her the gas. She was so relieved, genuinely grateful, and happy to hear about our quest for good deeds and smiled a huge smile when she realized she would be the recipient of our last good deed of the trip.

So ... if anyone would like to donate to the Co-Op, we ended up with 12 good deeds:

1. Human back scratcher Pee Wee in Lucedale, Mississippi.
2. Cheering up rest stop security guard lady at Dizzy Dean Rest Stop.
3. Pee Wee helping disabled lady at WWII Museum in New Orleans.
4. Milkshake for Cajun hotel manager.
5. Pee Wee joining in with kids in hoop race at Brazos State Park.
6. Moving pianos and equipment at Norman Petty studio.
7. Donating spray paint at Cadillac Ranch.
8. Ridding the highway of blown truck tire.
9. Mopping hotel lobby in Texarkana.
10.Singing the praises of new food server to the restaurant manager.
11. Fixing bathroom door at gas station.
12. Midnight gas run for young lady.

And just a thought after I hugged the black young lady goodbye last night after helping her out ... wake up America! We're just all Americans - the following link is a song from the 1950s play South Pacific that states it very clearly, and, should be required listening these days: