Counting my blessings (literally) and appreciating the kind people around me: Catching up on Monday and Tuesday, Days 24 and 25 - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

May 15, 2022 to May 17, 2022

Counting my blessings (literally) and appreciating the kind people around me: Catching up on Monday and Tuesday, Days 24 and 25

On Monday, May 16, lunch at the grocery store in Pleasant Ridge, Ky., was a cozy local experience. A bunch of men, seemingly of two generations (mine and a generation older) were having lunch at a long cafeteria table with small stools. I took a seat on the corner and overheard them discussing how hard it would be to fly a helicopter. One man who probably 20 years my senior said something about a horse so I asked him about that a little bit. I didn't catch how most of the guys were affiliated. I would've guessed working on a farm together, but I noticed a few of them wearing gray t-shirts with MM on the chest pocket and I later saw that there's a sanitation company called M&M, but I'm not all that confident they're the same. I chatted with another man on the patio as I took a sunscreen bath and prepared to head back out. He was really into photography and drones as a hobby.

I had two prayers said for me Monday. First, I met on the road two eastbound cyclists named Bill and Cassie, and we stopped and exchanged tips about what was ahead of each of us. At the end, Bill said they like to pray with the people they meet asking the way, so he said a prayer for our safe travels so that we might appreciate God's creation and meet many good helpful people along the way. I'm not religious in the slightest, but I do appreciate the camaraderie and the good wishes. It felt good to just stand there at the end of someone's stone driveway along the side of the road, three cyclists holding their bicycles and bowing their heads together.

The second prayer came — no surprise — at the church where I stayed in Sebree. Bob, the former pastor who lives across the street, let me into the church and showed me its many amenities that are either specifically for or shared with cyclists: cots, pillows, a shower, laundry, kitchen, etc. Bob then said a prayer for me and gave me some background on the area. He told me: It's a very conservative town, very much in support of Trump (although Bob, who is conservative, doesn't support him). The town has a very large Mexican population, and there are more Hispanic children than non-Hispanic in the schools. I briefly worried about where he was going with his comments, but then I realized I had a good feeling about Bob, and he went on to say all the Hispanic people in the community were good, hardworking people and, essentially, that they were a blessing to the community.

Bob then told me what I'd seen growing in the fields: wheat! I told him I thought soybeans, but he said it was wheat, which surprised me because of its green color and low height. Farmers can plant soybeans right after the wheat in the same field, he explained. Corn would be planted soon in separate fields. Tobacco is also common in the area. He pointed out that we're in the Bible Belt and we agreed: There are a LOT of churches in the region.

Then, on Tuesday morning, Jeff Lee, a fellow cyclist and reader of this blog, showed up at the church where I was staying and gave me a can of Halt dog spray. Thanks, Jeff! It was awfully kind of him to bring that over to me. Aside from arming me against dogs, the other thing that this gesture and our conversation did for me was to demonstrate a sense of community here on Cycle Blaze, which I had not expected, at least not in person — but of course it's no surprise when you think about it. It follows a pattern of people looking out for each other. And that makes me very grateful and even motivated to keep going — and to pay it forward.

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