I woke up well rested. I stayed with Wally, Leslie, and Shannon last night. Wally’s daughter worked as an intern for my best friend in the Pentagon. I made some eggs for breakfast and updated a few days worth of blog post. After I finished that, I packed my bag up and headed back down to the kayak. It was about 4-5 blocks. I loaded up the boat and took off for my day. As I was leaving, the marina master came out to wish me a good journey.
I was off to Fort Madison. I was paddling along, but not with a lot of energy. I was physically and mentally tired. It was just an off day. I pulled into some side channels and worked my was downstream. The channel I was in was lined with trees on both sides. I was the only one in it. There is a sense of peace and solitude when those opportunities happen. When I was within a few miles of Fort Madison, this guy in his cabin said hi. There were two little kids running around. He asked me where I was going and if I was hungry. I told him Clearwater, FL and I was kinda hungry. He told me to pull up to the dock while he got some food. His grandkids helped pull me in. He invited me up to the deck to eat. I got out and indtroduced myself. His name was Tony and the kids were his grandkids. He brought me a soda and a plate full of food. It included a big steak, some potatoes, and some sweet corn. I could not have been happier.
I ate while watching his grandkids throw knives at a wood block. They were 5 and 6, but they were safe and good. It is just the way of life out here. I talked with Tony while answering a lot of the kids questions. We watched another great sunset over the levee behind his cabin. As soon as it got dark, the kids and I began to shoot off bottle rockets. The kids were having a blast and I was too.Tony and I were talking while all this was happening, but I will get to that shortly. The kids shot off a lot of rockets before it was bedtime. Tony invited me to stay if I wanted to do that. He had a couch or a bed I could crash on. The kids were out in no time and Tony and I continued to talk into the night.
About Tony: Tony was a kind guy with an older soul in him. He was a Wal-Mart manager for 26 years. He retired at 50. He is an avid duck hunter. He cut open a shotgun shell to show me how it all worked. It is not something I had known. We stayed up late talking about family and philosophys on life. He said when talking about spending time with your elders, “You can always make money. You can’t always make time.” That is right up with my “Never. Miss. A. Moment.” philosophy. It was a treat to meet Tony and talk with him. There are some parts of our conversation that I will always hold close to me. He was a good guy.