My dad loved to visit and a stranger to him was just a friend waiting to be met.
It used to drive me nuts when my dad would stop and talk to a stranger while out and about, until I started following in his footsteps.
It’s kind of funny how we pick up and carry on the traditions and habits of our parents.
That happened to be the case on Thursday, May 6 when I was walking across the Montezuma Courthouse Square while running an errand. As I jotted across from the flower shop to Ron’s Barber Shop, two bicyclers were resting on the benches in front of the Veteran’s Memorial. I stopped to visit and introduced myself.
“Montezuma is home to the Class 1A State Basketball Champions,” I said of introducing the town and myself.
They introduced themselves as Charlie Bagin and Maddie Plank. I learned that the two bicyclers were on a journey across America from New Jersey to Seattle.
For some reason, I failed to ask why they were on the journey. The two asked about grabbing a bite to eat and I directed them to the town eateries. I think they went for Mexican food at Yolandas.
I asked if I could take their photo with the courthouse in the background and I offered to send it to them. Charlie shared his email. I sent the photo a couple days later and I asked why there were on the journey.
“We are riding across the country to have a fun adventure, see our country, and support NAMI and mental health awareness,” Charlie replied to my email, noting that he liked the photo and info on the Poweshiek County Courthouse, which I included with my email.
Charlie said the two, who I learned are basketball players from Princeton University, left New Jersey in early April and where about a month into their journey. He said it would take about 1.5 months to get to Seattle.
Since that day, I have been following their journey through their website http://namicoast2coast.wixsite.com/website and as of writing this column, the two where near the Devils Tower in Wyoming.
Charlie said they are staying with friends, staying in motels and camping out on their journey. I’m sure they were carrying the kitchen sink with them on their journey.
Meeting Charlie and Maddie reminds me of the time when I decided to return to college at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
When I moved, I knew my landlord, my advisor at MU and the now late Dr. Keener Tippin, a vice provost at MU who, along with his secretary, helped guide me in the early days of my return to college. It was Dr. Tippin who told me about the Agricultural Journalism program and helped me get established. And his secretary helped me find a dentist in Columbia when I developed a bad tooth ache.
In the years since, I have made many friends and they all have played a pivotal role in my success in life.
Keep on moving, keep on walking and keep on believing.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.