A Long Walk: (Memoirs of a Teenage Author)

(This is post #9 of the My Journey to Gritty: Memoirs of a Teenage Author series)



A couple days after Mom and Dad’s first visit to “the land”, they took our whole family there.
It was way out in the country, thirty minutes from the nearest supermarket. The road there was bumpy, but the surrounding area was beautiful, wooded countryside.
I admit, I had my notebook with me and didn’t see much of the sights. Hazy and Maia were staging a raid at a power plant. That was much more exciting.
Soon, however, I had to put the book down, because we were treated to a rare sight.
The road almost seemed to cut off. It turned into such a deep, steep, downgrade it was almost as if you were starting into the scary part of a roller coaster ride. For a moment, all you could see was sky and the tops of tall trees, then you started bump, bump, bump, bump, bumping down a huge hill. Our big, metal Suburban rattled so hard we bounced in our seats.
At the bottom of The Hill, there were two or three houses surrounded by trees, broken down cars, and trash heaps, then you turned to the right and there was a creek flowing under a low bridge. Mom and Dad said that the last time they had come, the creek was flowing over the bridge instead of under it because it had just rained.
We crossed the bridge and entered The Land.

The Land was surrounded by and heavy populated with trees. We drove along a rutty dirt path and looked over a couple areas that had been more-or-less recently cleared by a brush hog. Then our Suburban suddenly got stuck in a muddy puddle. We all piled out of the vehicle and peered at the wheels.
Yikes… bad news. We were up to our axles in mud.
Pushin’ time.
We all spread out and got to work. The little kids looked for something flat we could put under the wheels. I had knee high leather work boots on, so I stepped into the puddle and pushed the Suburban with my dad and brother while Mom tried to drive.
Nothing. It just sunk deeper. Mud lapped at the top of my boots and splashed all over us.
Dad checked his track phone. No reception.
Who would we call anyway? My grandparents were all the way up in Oregon visiting my aunt. We had lived in Kansas for the last twelve years. Almost all the people we knew lived at least an hour away.
We all looked at each other.
It was the middle of summer, mid-afternoon, blistering hot.
“Well… let’s start walking,” Dad stated in a matter-of-fact way. (Like he always does in tough situations)
I longingly looked at the Suburban, thinking of my notebook.
“Leave your stuff behind,” Dad told us.
Crap…
“I’ll come back for you,” I whispered to Hazy before wading out of the mud

The neighbors weren’t home. So we couldn’t use their phones.
“Maybe there’s phone reception at the top of The Hill?” Mom suggested.
We hiked up The Hill and got one bar, not enough to call anybody. (I told you it was out in the sticks.)
So we kept walking.
We walked and walked. The little kids whined a bit, but really they did pretty good. A big Dachshund came out of the woods growling and snarling at us. Dad stared it down until it backed off and left us alone though.
“Animals sense fear, kids. You can’t let it scare you,” he reminded us.
We kept walking.
Then the cell phone suddenly got enough reception that we could make a call.
Mom called some friends that lived out close to my grandparents’ house and gave them directions to where we were at. They said they’d take care of us.
Evening was coming on. It was getting dark and we were tired.
“Come on. We’re going to keep walking until they meet us,” Dad said.
We drug our feet, but didn’t complain.
An hour passed. Dusk fell, blue-grey darkness swept over us. We kept walking down the road.
Suddenly, headlights appeared. It wasn’t our friends, but it was someone they went to church with. They lived closer to this area than our friends did, so they had been commissioned to come pick us up.
They brought drinks with them.
We thanked them for their kindness and crawled up into the back of their truck, sipping on our drinks. The night was cold and the breeze felt icy as they started up the truck and drove towards civilization. We were supremely thankful as we sleepily watched the landscape blur beside us.
Driving… it’s soo much faster than walking, let me tell ya.

Click here to read the next post in this series: Preparing the Land

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