I met the nicest woman this morning. Coming back from town, I noticed in the Narrows there was a person walking with a baby stroller. Not an unusual sight- the highway is the only way in and out of town. But this stroller displayed an American flag and the front part was covered in a thick vinyl as if to keep supplies from getting wet. A baby or a pet wouldn’t be able to breathe inside that set-up. So I wondered what the story was behind the walker.
When the walker passed our house, I hailed the person and asked what the story was about? Initailly, I couldn’t tell the sex of the person because devoid of make-up and jewelry and spouting an Amy hat, she could pass for a male. Her name is Erin Parate, she is an Army Veteran and she started her walk in Rhode Island! Her end point is Newport Oregon which is about a 110 miles from our home so she is almost done!
She dresses gender non-specific for a good reason. She doesn’t wear makeup, tight shirts, or skinny jeans- she looks like a guy until you hear her speak. She doesn’t want to be assaulted or messed with by the crazy people of the world, she just wants to meet other balanced, creative individuals as well as other Vets. She is 43 years old and in great shape!
She tried to do this same Walk Across America last year but was wearing inappropriate shoes and ended up breaking her foot! She showed me pictures on her phone of her feet that had developed these huge blisters between each toe! She said that because of the blisters, she was compensating for the pain by walking more on the ball of her foot instead of the front and her ankle bone just shattered! The blisters were huge. I have never seen blisters like that between toes,
She said she wasn’t doing this for a cause, she just wanted to always walk across America and then write a book about her experience. I’ll bet she finishes both dreams and I bet I will buy her book and walk across America within her pages with her.
My friend Midge came over with her camera and we did a short interview with photos. Hopefully, our local paper will print out her story and maybe inspire someone else to follow their dreams.
I had to laugh, when I brought her in the backyard. We were talking and she looked under the house and said “Wait, is that a skunk?” LOL Sure enough- little Stinker had stuck her nose into the cat’s tray and was eating to her heart’s content. I also told her what I do here with the cats and she met Kota. Mike was asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up so we stayed outside.
What a trip- walking across America to fulfill a dream. She said that when she was going across Nebraska it was so hot that she only could travel at night. She said she met a woman who turned out to be the Chairman of the American Women Journalist Organization and this woman made it possible for her to find homes in other towns (of other female journalists) and she never had to sleep outside the entire time across that state! I think that is awesome.
You can find her on Facebook. It’s a far cry from the last person I talked to while he was walking on the highway. This guy was dressed like Jesus- he had a wheelbarrow he was trundling along the highway and a sign that read “Dump your Loved One’s Ashes Here!” There were some ashes in his barrow, but I didn’t ask too many questions- this guy was wacked out of his head. Thankfully, Erin is a fully functioning delightful human being!