May 6, 2012
We set out from Old Fort, North Carolina, this morning at about eight fifteen a.m., and altogether had quite an uneventful morning. We set a strong pace, covering 10.5 miles in about three and a half hours, but other than a “few” run-ins with ticks (twelve between the three of us) there really was nothing of note. We did see some of the most beautiful mountain scenery imaginable, but we’re learning that that’s quite normal around here.
The afternoon couldn’t have been more different. We reached Marion at about one in the afternoon, and as we passed some tennis courts we decided to take a break with a bit of soccer tennis. Two local kids challenged us to a match, and we soundly showed them why peaceful coexistence cannot be defeated
A little while later, as we were on our way from Marion to Nebo, we got to talking to a kind stranger at a gas station, and Tim “T-pain” offered to buy us some drinks. The powerades he got us couldn’t have come at a better time, and we certainly thank him for supporting us.
Then came the highlight of the day and of the trip so far. We had just passed a small church after about 21 miles of dribbling, when we heard a “Hey! Do you guys want some water?” We turned to see a strikingly beautiful young woman waving at us and inviting us to come back to the church we had just passed. After a quick meet and greet, Miss Sherry Wilkerson invited us to come eat at an after-service meal with the rest of the congregation of St. John’s Methodist Church in Nebo, NC. To put it bluntly, they were awesome. They welcomed us with open arms, fed us, let us sit in the air conditioning, fed us, listened to and completely supported our message, and my favorite part was that they gave us food. They couldn’t have been more gracious and hospitable, and the love they showed us was really overwhelming.
Today, I think we all learned a little something about the kindness of others. Tim had never met us before and had no reason talk to us, but he went out of his way to help some weary travelers. Miss Sherry actually ran us down to ask if we needed any water, and the entire St. John’s Methodist Church simply embodies our message: that no matter who you are or where you are from or what you believe, we should still love each other. That we can still get along. We hope to spread that message with soccer, they spread it with some delicious pasta.