If you’ve listened to a book, have you “read” it? What’s that humming noise? Is this what they call the ‘yellow fever’ cemetery? Can we make the eight miles between libraries before the storms come? Add a few minor other questions regarding friendships, family, and God, and you’ve pretty much got the gist of the conversation during my #WalkandReadAcross Weakley last Saturday.
As a reminder, the goal is to walk from one Weakley County library to the next during the month of March, getting healthier, while promoting libraries and local news. I post Facebook live updates during the walks, which start at 7 a.m. each Saturday and then ensure a few choice photos are added to Instagram.
The first week covered the six miles from Greenfield to Sharon. This week, barely squeaking it in, was the eight miles from Sharon to the C.E. Weldon Library in Martin.
To be honest, I really didn’t think it would happen. Weather sources were forecasting a 90 percent chance of not just rain, but thunderstorms. I’m not a fragile flower and I did live in a rainforest once, but with talk of tornados and lightening strikes swirling about, I was ok with postponing.
But then … my sister chided me for throwing in the proverbial towel, soaked or not, too soon. Tony Morris, who was one of my interviews when he donated a kidney to a friend, checked in to see if the walk was still on since he had asked to tag along after seeing me the week prior after the inaugural walk.
A guy with one kidney was willing to brave the elements? How could I not?
I told everyone on Friday night that we’d wait and see. By 5 a.m. on Saturday I had deciphered the radar well enough to determine we might have a two-hour window exactly when we needed it. A quick text to Tony to meet a few minutes early and another to tell my sister and brother-in-law, my “pick up team,” to expect us in Martin after 9 a.m. and the walk was on!
A friend in Houston and I once lost a lot of weight by faithfully walking every day after work. Sometimes, we admitted the walks were more for our head than our hearts, as our conversations became release valves on bad days and celebrations on better ones. The things one can talk about when there’s only the need to keep walking are far and wide.
Tony didn’t disappoint. He did a great commercial for the value of local reporting as he shared a bit of his experience of being a part of headlines for the transplant story. And he helped answer the question of the buzzing sound as we soon discerned that the power substation indeed makes a rather loud audible hum – only somewhat disconcerting on a foggy, wet morning. I once again appreciated the folks from the Weakley County Municipal Electric System that I have frequently featured in stories who brave the mix of wires and wetness fairly regularly.
The online observers offered up suggestions of good reading and I found we’ve got some eclectic readers out there. “A Love Worth Giving” by Max Lucado, “Charlotte’s Web,” “SuperFreakonomics” by Levitt and Dubner, Chaim Potok’s “In the Beginning,” a biography of Stevie Nicks and anything about the Amish made the list.
The question I posed regarding an ongoing debate received a few replies. Does listening to an audible book qualify as reading? was my query. To date, it’s 50/50 on that one.
The good news is that if you don’t care if it “counts” and just want to enjoy one, audible books are as close as a library card and an app named Libby. The program gives listeners/readers access to e-books in the library’s OverDrive system. My local librarian in Sharon, Kathy Watson, shared that bit of news with me and is going to save me a lot of money.
The other bit of newsworthy brightness that I can report is that while I did look like a freshly-showered kook in the final photos in Martin, the rain held off. The fog and a bit of sweat, we did about a 3.4 miles-per-hour pace, had me less than camera ready, but the captured smile is genuine. Only moments after we got in the van that my family graciously provided to return us to Sharon, the drops started hitting the windshield.
Two walks in and I’m actually looking forward to the next leg of the journey. The plan is to start at C.E. Weldon Public Library in downtown Martin Saturday at 7 a.m. and take it one step at a time to Dresden. I’ve got “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” waiting for me on my earphones and, no matter what that other 50 percent say, I’m going to enjoy “reading” it.
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