by guest blogger Bonnie Spencer
CW recently wrote about his backpacking trip to the Smokies. However, he neglected to tell you the whole story. After you read this, you’ll probably understand why. He began his tale near the end of the hike and never made it all the way back to the real beginning.
On Sunday morning, George came to our house to pick CW up. Though I had heard George’s name a lot, I had never met him, so I walked outside to do just that. I also made myself useful by carrying a couple of armfuls of CW’s gear down the steps from the porch to the street to be loaded into George’s truck. CW decided to go back into the house for some nuts & bolts (the edible kind) to munch on during the long ride south. He soon reappeared, and they took off down the street.
Starting back up the steps, I glanced at the front door. I froze in mid-step. The door appeared to be closed. It’s amazing how quickly panic can set in. I had no keys with me. I flew up the rest of the steps and tried the knob. Indeed, it was locked! Not thinking, CW had pulled the door all the way shut.
I then went into a full-fledged anxiety attack. I didn’t think I could be afraid of anything more than CW running into a bear in the Smokies, but I was wrong. Discovering that I was locked out of my house and my husband had just driven off for five days in the Smokies 350 miles away was way more terrifying.
My mind was racing. I sure didn’t want to be camping on my porch for five days. Could I possibly catch them? Of course not, but my legs joined my mind anyway and went racing back down the steps and into the street. I flew down the middle of the road, my thoughts ricocheting back and forth between a panic-infused “There’s no way I can catch them” and “Run, Forrest, run!”
Coming to grips with the futility of trying to overtake a vehicle that was already out of sight when I had less than the four legs required to do so, I darted up the steps of a neighbor’s house. I frantically pounded on the door. It finally opened to a startled Ferd. I breathlessly blurted out, “Can I use your phone? I’m OK, but I need to call CW as soon as I can.” He stood still with a puzzled look. I thought he might not have understood my babbling so I repeated it. He finally caught the operative word and directed me to the wall phone in the kitchen. I quickly called CW’s cell. I thought he would never answer. Then I heard, “What’s up, Ferd?” I was in no mood for him to be funny with me. Then I remembered who’s phone I was calling from. More breathless babbling. “This isn’t Ferd! It’s Bonnie! You locked me out!” They immediately turned the truck around.
When CW got back to the house, he reminded me he didn’t have his keys. We had discussed his keys that morning. He had decided he wouldn’t need them so he’d leave the extra weight at home. That was OK, though. He has another way to get into the house. I’m sure you’ll understand if I don’t divulge it here; we want to avoid uninvited occupants. It takes some athleticism, but suffice it to say that he has perfected the routine with lots of practice. They took off again. This time I waved from inside the house. (A few miles down the road—the second time—CW discovered that he’d had his keys in his pocket all along!)
That afternoon after I returned from church and my heart rate was back to normal, I was sitting in the living room working on the never-ending job of editing CW’s book. I looked to the corner of the room where all of his Smoky Mountain gear had been stored for the past week before he moved it to the porch that morning. My eyes fell on two lonely hiking sticks leaning against the wall and staring out the window, wondering why they weren’t on the road trip with their comrades. I texted CW on their behalf to see if he might have forgotten anything. He and George made a detour to Walmart for a new set of hiking sticks to break in on the Smokies trail.
There may be other things CW left out of his story. I’m sure many tales never reached my ears. But I thought I’d share the ones I know of so I could add an appoggiatura (A: embellishing note) to his already great story.