New Blog Address

Ryan's blog can now be found HERE.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Thomas White and Family: Superheroes

Originally uploaded by dchasteen.

Last week, as Dave and I were trying to make our way back home from Indiana, we took the long way through the mountains and enjoyed some beautiful scenery, slalomed through mountain curves in the rain, dodged lightening bolts, explored an early industrial era farm machinery/train graveyard, and had an unplanned pit stop at the home of Thomas and Marjie White in Oakland, Maryland. Dave's bike broke down again right in front of their house so we parked and went to knock on the door. Loud banging ensued and I thought they were trying to warn us off. Turns out that Thomas was just trying to put the door back on to the family van after it had somehow fallen off.

Dave and I went towards the noise cautiously as I shouted out "We're safe!" and held my hands up in the air. It was pitch black and raining and we were wearing baggy rain suits, gloves and boots. Despite our odd appearance, the family instantly invited us in and gave us use of their garage. Dave took off on my bike to the nearest Wal-Mart to get a new battery for his bike and while he was gone, Marjie fed me a delicious bowl of ham and beans and finished it off with a couple scoops of ice cream. Thomas even offered me his Dr. Pepper, which is both of our favorite "pop."

Thomas was wearing this great t-shirt of Shakespeare in a Superman pose with a cape. He is a writer and we spent a lot of time talking about his book, Womannequin and the Agents of the Foundation for Hope and Peace. It's a mouthful, but it sounds really interesting. I bought a copy on Barnes and and I encourage you to do so as well by following the above link.

We talked about all kinds of random things. He asked me if I knew which is my "lead eye" and then told me how to find out. He's been taking an informal survey of this information for years, which I found very peculiar and amusing. Thomas and Marjie's kids were unbelievably well behaved and obviously adored their parents.

It was great to meet this family and hang out with them. Their generosity was wonderful. They had a humble spirit about them that was contagious. I've had good friends treat me much worse than these complete strangers did that night. I came in all wet and tired and they fed me and tried to make me as comfortable as possible. When Dave got back he had a meal and got a new, dry pair of socks. It was truly amazing.

I am tempted to draw huge conclusions about the world from encounters like this, but if I do that then I have to do the same with the bad encounters. I think it is sufficient to simply be grateful and to try to be more like Thomas and Marjie the next time someone rings my doorbell in need of some help.

One conclusion that I can make is that this is why I love road trips. I love to see the country, but the things I always remember are the people I've met in the strangest of circumstances - Cecilia Spotted Bear and her fundamentalist husband, George Sanderfeld who let us crash in his RV in Iowa, Sam who I asked for the time and he gave me a bowl of organic chile and a yo-yo from from his cliff-perched oceanside California mansion, the guy in Reno who gave me a spare innertube for my bike, and a handful of other people I've met on the road.

It's good to get out and see the world. It's even better to talk to people along the way.

No comments: