Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Day 8 - Tuesday
We began the day with the end of our nostalgia tour - we looked around my old college for a few minutes in Springfield. We saw the athletic dorm where I had to climb in the window many times one year because money was low and I couldn't pay the small rent. The coach who lived there knew though, so it was kind of a Rudy thing. Then we saw the old wrestling practice room and the old gym where we had matches. But due to Title IX ... no more wrestling at this university.
Next we landed in Branson for a couple of hours. Branson is the most commercialized place we have visited, so it was not one of our favorite places. I'm sure it is a great vacation for many people, it just doesn't jive with our type of trip. While in Branson, we did see a very good military museum. It had several rooms with great artifacts from all of our wars from WWI to the present. One room - the one with the soldiers in the picture - lists every single soldier who lost his or her life in WWII - over 400,000 names. It is the only place anywhere that lists all of those names in one location. Visiting a place like that really makes you appreciate our soldiers.
From there, we decided to take a more direct route to Atlanta, with a goal of seeking out more good deeds. Somewhere in northern Arkansas we saw a blown out truck tire in the road that we had to steer away from, as did the cars behind us. We turned around as soon as we could and drove back to the tire and pulled on to the shoulder. Pee Wee waited for traffic to die down and ran out and moved the tire out of the way. Who knows - we might have prevented an accident. (Sorry about the bug splat on the windshield in the picture).
In a few miles we stopped at a rest area to get a better map of Arkansas. While there, we talked to a nice man and two women who were running the place. We told them what we have been doing over the past 8 days and one woman asked us to wait so that she could make a "to do good" list - she said if we were going to go around doing good deeds then she had a long list for us. That area of Arkansas just had some road construction so most people's GPS systems tell the drivers that they missed the turn for Branson and to make a u-turn. They get several drivers per hour who come in and ask for help in getting to Branson. I made a sign and put it on the door that said, "You Are Not Lost!" They said it didn't count as a good deed and I told them that they were not the judges. But we had made some new friends in northern Arkansas.
We made it to Holly Springs, Mississippi tonight, but about an hour before we stopped for the night, we had an interesting good deed. Way back in 1974, Kathy and I were driving from Missouri to Georgia to visit my parents in Macon. We stopped in Trumann, Arkansas to get gas. We both were using the bathrooms when a teenage girl (drunk) ran off the road and knocked over a gas pump and almost totalled our car. We held the passenger door together with duct tape and barely made it to Macon with Kathy sitting behind me in the back seat. Then today, I saw a sign for Trumann and pulled over to get gas and a picture for Kathy to see - for old times sake. Ten minutes later we pulled out on the highway, drove about a mile and saw a car pulled off of the highway with a flat tire. We asked the young woman (also pregnant) if she wanted our help and she said "Please!" She said she had just gotten the flat tire but didn't have a jack - her husband had taken it out of her car to change another tire. I got the jack out of my truck, but her car was sitting so low that the jack would not fit under it. Her husband's best friend was called because he had a mechanic's flat jack. We told her we would stay with her until he got there and we got her going. When he arrived, even his flat jack wouldn't fit under the car. We all put our heads together and figured out a plan - we moved the car forward a few feet with the two good wheels sitting a few feet lower on the shoulder of the road. That allowed just enough space for the flat jack to fit and within a few minutes the spare was on and she was on her way. The thought that occurred to me as we headed on down the road ... if Kathy and I had not had our car almost demolished 36 years ago, we would not have stopped in Trumann today and we would not have been around to help out the damsel in distress. Funny how things work out sometimes ...
We will head out tomorrow morning with a destination of ... HOME!