Great Grandpa Amnesia Travels part 7

She had prepared the supper and with the table at one side and the cook stove on the other with her wheelchair between she passed the dishes of food and made hot biscuits during the meal, always cheerful and joining in the conversation. There was another man who was a helper the man being engaged at this season in barking trees for tar. I had a good nights rest and breakfast and was charged but a small amount for my indebtedness. Was given instructions as to the road to Clinchport but it seemed as if I had little sense of direction for after traveling several miles and asking a man I met the distance to Clinchport was informed I was miles of of my way.  Again my nearest way was over the mountain and after being directed started for the top where he informed me I would find a house my knee felt very much better and the climb was not so laborious as I expected; reaching the house far from spent by the climb. There were a couple of women in the house and asking for a drink was given a cup of coffee after some breakfast which this offered me letting them of my having had it at Duffield. By this time it was quite warm and after resting about an hour and receiving directions as to the trail to the road leading to Clinchport started down mountain. My sense of direction must have been very poor for again I lost my way and after a long time moving through shrub and open places emerged on a road which I followed until noon when I came by a cottage on the mountain side was given a meal by a young women. On leaving followed the road until I came to a cross road where a man in a field directed me to the left but traveling this for about a half mile met a man who on my inquiry, stated I was on a road which would take me along way round it was nearer to turn back and follow his directions and eventually arrived at Clinchport. At this time the sky was clouding and I pushed on through Speers Ferry not stopping at the house where I was befriended as there seemed to be no one about and it was noticed to get to Gate City, by night. When about 2 miles from Gate City it began to rain and reaching a small village took refuge on a covered porch over a general store which was closed. It was dark by this time and very uncomfortable on the porch as there was no place to sit and getting very cold. Later on a working train pulled onto the aiding of the railroad which ran by the village and the workman rushed to the dining car, so called. It has ceased raining and I went over to scout for a place to sleep. In each car there were bunks at each end with a square place in the middle where the doors open, a stove in the center, but without a fire. Seeing a workman near by I asked him if I could stayer there for the night but as he replied that I would need to see the boss who was at supper but he was hardboiled and more than likely to give me a swift kick as he had no lover for tramps. Without resenting the reputation and disinterest to meet this “hardboiled” foreman who might interfere with my sleep which were my main dependence I went back to this porch, about an hour later feeling the need of a better position and relief from the cold wind I again went over and finding a car with a empty box car inside probably used for coal after stome strenuous work pulled myself in and moving the box into a corner was ready for anything to happen. The new man having a lot of homeplay with probably  a new hand as I could hear him calling “Hey – stop that ” and out a squeal time after time. About what seemed 10 o’clock they ceased their fun and went to their bunks those passing me paying no attention except one who said, “Sorry we can’t give you a bunk Dad but they are all filled.” “That’s all right Bo I’m in out of the wet and wind will do fine here.” Worse nights had been my fan but sitting on that box all night with the sides of the car for a pillow all but fine and my naps came few and far between. Strange, I had no thought of its being anything but my usual cause in life except that not feeling that I was a tramp, but something different and yet accepting things as they were. Not once did I incline to reasoning these things out and nor an inclination to look for work – Just an impulse to keep moving on, by day light it had cleared and I was and up with the sun and away. Instead of taking the road from Gate City by which I came my course was one toward Bristol, Tennessee. After walking a couple of hours and feeling the need of food the road being hilly and  few habit at oners my wants were supplied by a woman living along the roadside who fed me liberally, asked me to rest awhile and entered into a conversation which lasted for an hour, a welcome interlude having so little of anyone’s society and gave her to understand my gratitude for her consideration of our asking her for “a bite”. The day was cloudy for the most part finding relief from the sun and my knee giving me slight trouble by evening I reached Mendota having had some dinner at a house a few miles back.

The few people I saw in the village rather ask adn at me and seeing an old grist mill near by entered its portal and finding a couple of bags made a pillow of one and threw the other over me but it gave scant warmth as the night was very cold but had a fairly good nights rest. Somehow in the morning those I will seemed devoid of hostility and one man stopped and asked me where I was bound for, directioning me to a house some distance beyond when his wife would give me a meal “for the asking” as he had just finished his breakfast and was on his way to work. I had only to ask and she gave a me a good meal with 2 or 3 cups of coffee saying “that’s just like him – he likes his meals himself he’d would be late at work.” I said, “that’s a man for you, they don’t grow’em in any bush.” and her smile showed her admiration of her consent. On my way, a clear sunny morning, a full stomach and a feeling that the world is alright despite thee passionate kept mine good spirits and with some rolls, butter, and coffee from another good samaritan along the way I reached Bristol about 6 o’clock in the evening. Just outside the tow, noticing a base ball grounds with grandstand it came to me that it would afford a place to sleep without further hunting and possible cleaner than any I might find. There was no trouble getting into the park and finding a place where I could look about without being seen sat there until dark finally retiring on bench.. to be continued


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