Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Pants

"Where in the hell are my pants?" I asked. She smiled sweetly and shrugged. She couldn't find them either amidst my pile of clothes. Figures... when you need pants the most, you got none.

Now I've had awkward moments on the road but.... wait a tick, lemme back up just a bit.

We've been in the throes of chaos since we walked the final mile in Boston late June - Within weeks, Murphy's diagnosis came followed by four weeks of radiation therapy and a brief trip to Texas to visit my family.

While there I stopped by my storage unit in San Antonio that has most of my worldly possessions. Not knowing precisely when I'd return, I grabbed everything I might need for the coming months and, more importantly, that'd fit in Mommy G's Miata which I was driving at the time.

Among the things I stuffed into her Mazda; my golf bag which oh, God I missed (I tried ernestly to carry my seven iron cross country but it never made it outta Walter E. Long Park), my kilt ('Ello, 'Ello, 'Ello, luv), as many CDs I could cram into small spaces, my Conan the Barbarian coat (oh, yeah - wait til you see pics), and my suit bag since I planned on attending the APDT awards ceremony.

From TX I picked up the boys in Memphis and went on a goodwill tour that took us from Bowling Green KY, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Vermont then back down to Boston, Jersey City, and then onto Richmond. We were cutting it close and I only had one day in Virginia to get my suits cleaned and move on to Atlanta to receive our APDT award.

Our travels have never been without strife but to the best of my knowledge, they've never been pantless. Er, intentionally anyway. Apparently, I neglected to check my suit bag back in San Antonio and had I did, I would've discovered that it was jackets 4; slacks 0.

"What kinda guy separates the two?" Standing at the cleaner's counter I half chastised myself and half wondered what I did with them. It'd been over two years since I stowed everything in SA and we set out on our adventure so I came up well short on both questions.

"Where does one buy pants in Richmond anyway?", I asked the lady at the counter.

To be continued...

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Dog Chapel

Making our way up Highway 59 towards Arkansas two months into the walk, we came across something called a Cowboy Church. Even though I grew up in Texas, it was the first I'd ever heard of this. But it wouldn't be the last. I soon discovered they're all over the South and suspected they were part of a franchise, too. Worked for chicken & biscuits, why not churches?

Turned out it's not a chain at all... just people in different places and of differing denominations who live the cowboy lifestyle and worship together. Seemed like a cool concept to me and over many subsequent miles on the road I wondered about building a Dog Church myself.

I don't remember how or when but I later found out about an artist named Stephen Huneck in Vermont who built such a sanctuary. My gut said, 'Gotta go there' so I called Ginger to make it happen. Wasn't on my walking plan she said and went on to spell out a whole host of reasons why it was impossible which I do not recall. I tend to drown out disagreement. Dreamers do that.

While on the Rails-to-Trails to DC I met a Marine who said, "'Impossible' only describes a degree of difficulty". That's true, but it also necessitates the element of time.

Do what you believe long enough and you'll turn the hearts of even your most ardent critics. I felt Mr. Huneck, a fellow romantic, understood a lot of what our travels entailed and hoped our paths would one day cross.

They did yesterday when Hudson Murphy & I visited the Dog Chapel for the first time. It was the annual fall festival at Dog Mountain and wow - what a place!

And while the beauty is indescribable I traveled to the Dog Chapel to pray for mercy for Murphy and everyone touched by cancer and to thank God for blessing my life with this mission and making me a weapon in this war

And to thank you, Stephen, for giving all of us a place to come and worship together.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Recipe: Brussel Sprouts with With Apples and Toasted Pecans

Nowadays I spend just as much time in the kitchen as I do on the trail, whether cooking for host families or working on Murphy's diet. I'm no Rachel Ray but occasionally I concoct something good enough to share especially when I'm way outta my comfort zone.

The other night while at Mommy H's house (Murphy's first mommy), all she had in the fridge was rabbit food - some brussel sprouts and such. It's apple harvest time in the North & she'd just bought a busshel of Ginger Golden (oh, the irony). Rarely do I mix sweet and savory but I didn't have much to work with. Here's what I came up with and surprisingly it's one of the tastiest dishes I've ever made and perfectly fitting for fall season.

Saute some brushel sprouts in butter and salt & pepper until al dente, probably 15-20 minutes. Add chopped white or yellow onions and some minced garlic and continue to pan fry until the onions are translucent. Add a 1/4 - 1/2 cup of white whine, turn up the heat, and add apple slices. I used Pinot Grigio as these wines are typically fruitier than Chards.

This is the tricky part or at least it was for me. How long do you cook the apples? You want them soft enough to sop up the butter and wine but not too mushy. One maybe two minutes may be all you need to reduce it down without turning it into apple sauce.

Add some toasted pecans or whatever nut you prefer though I'd stay away from almonds because of their bitterness. The piece de resistance is a dash of nutmeg to tie all the flavors together.

To be honest, I lacked confidence in it from the get go so after sauteing the brussel sprouts, onions & garlic I set aside one-half before adding the wine and apples. I love the simplicity of brussel sprouts bathed in butter but after sampling the finished product, the other half went right back in the pan.

As someone once said about me, "For a homeless guy, this guy can cook!"

Friday, October 1, 2010

Turning 2 Dogs Into 2 Million!

The Legacy Continues

November 7th 2010 in 12 cities across the nation.... Find out more about the 2 Million Dog March at