Just beyond where the souvenir man usually has his table under that lone encino tree before El Gonso I caught up with an older pilgrim whom I had watched struggling slowly ahead of me. I only caught up with him because he stopped to drink water.
The back of his large pack was completely covered with a plasticized white sign with black letters. A long screed of Scripture about the only way to find peace. I thought as I got close that normally with good wheels I would smoke past him in a flash. But since I knew I could only walk slowly, I thought this may be an interesting character, a pilgrim with a message and story worth stopping for a chat.
He was Ron from Southern California. Had walked from SJPP in that heat wave. Said he didn't want to have a first day like that again. I agreed.
He asked where I was from. Oregon, but I spend winters in DHS, so I knew his town in Southern California. "A snow bird," he says! Yep.
So I told him I would see him in Rabanal and headed off to let him rest. Not long later, I found 2 good rocks just off the track for my pack and my coup. Took off the shoes and had a look at that old valley with all the scrub trees and shrubs and bright red clay soil.
Soon Ron crept up in view, much later he caught up with me. He stopped, asked if I was okay. Told me that I could make it and take it easy. Off he crawled sticks a'clackin'.
Well, I wasn't hurting at all because I was on the slow ride enjoying the view and the many pilgrims passing by. It felt good to have somebody hurting a lot worse than me, try to give me encouragement because he thought I was worse off than he was. We never spoke a word about scripture or preaching. I didn't expect that at first, but right after our first comments, I forgot he was even carrying that billboard on his backpack.
I never did catch up with him, cause just before you come to the wire fence with all the crosses made with sticks and found objects, there was a caballero with a hawk. He let pilgrims don the glove so they could have the hawk perch on their hands. Here are some pics.
|Anne and Debbie with hawk|
Everybody is happy.
Christina and Antonio were glad to see me
and Antonio took care of getting us in.
There is a squash probably almost 6 feet tall in the family dining area.
One of the barmen said it came from his garden and weighed 35 kilos,
nearly 80 lbs.
I will see if I can get a pic of he and his squash.