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MARL and Daily Bread

December 9, 2012

Mississippi – Thursday, December 6

The first thing I did today was head to the store to shop for the animal rescue league. They can always use cat and dog food, and prefer Purina and Pedigree brands. So I got dog chow, puppy chow and cat food. They also had things like paper towels and Lysol wipes and that sort of thing on the wish list, so I got some of that too. MARL was relatively close to the store I shopped at, and it was a really nice facility. One of the ladies there told me they will take in any animal – not just dogs and cats. They have a barn on their property for bigger animals and currently have about 17 horses there. They handle about 1500 pet adoptions a year, which sounds like an impressive number to me, especially when it’s year after year, and they have a vet on staff to keep all critters healthy. It’s nice to know they can find so many homes for unwanted pets.

Then I wasted some time on a wild goose chase to find a Kohl’s store to return a different pair of walking shoes that I wouldn’t need any more and had been carrying in the van all this time. I never did find it – they didn’t answer their phone, and the GPS led me to the road I asked for, but it certainly wasn’t a Kohl’s. I knew they were there somewhere, but I finally abandoned the search.

I decided to stop in downtown Jackson while I was close to walk around the state capitol area, which looked good for some walking. But a couple miles into our walk, Tula had a seizure. She seems to have 1-2 a year, and hadn’t had one for quite a long time, so I keep hoping she’s outgrown it. We were right on the sidewalk in front of the old capitol building, and there was nothing I could do except kneel down next to her and just wait it out. It wasn’t a bad one, but to me they always seem to last longer than they actually do. I don’t know what triggered it. I was ready to give her all the time she needed to get back on her feet and she became alert again and probably wondered why she was lying on the sidewalk (I’m sure the people who drove past us wondered the same thing.) She was a little wobbly when she first stood up, and needless to say, our walk in Jackson was over. Fortunately the car wasn’t too far away – we had been walking up and down different streets and the van was only about 4 blocks away. Tula quickly returned to normal, and by the time we were back to the car she was her usual happy, energetic self. But I still wanted her to rest.

I drove north a little to Canton, and tried calling one of the food pantries there for today’s donation (MARL was from yesterday). But the number I had wasn’t accurate, so I called a different food pantry – Our Daily Bread Ministries – and they told me they would appreciate anything I could bring. The local store was a Piggly Wiggly, so I shopped and got a variety of non-perishable goods. I found the church (after having to call them again – they had moved to a new location) and met the director and another volunteer. Our Daily Bread Ministries runs a soup kitchen every day at lunchtime for those who need it, and also do home delivery for about 100 families. People who need food from the food pantry fill out a request list on Thursdays, and the volunteers package up the orders for pick-up on Fridays. And they also team up with another organization once a month to provide some medical care. So it’s another group of people doing a lot of good for those who need it!

Tula had had a good rest by this time and seemed eager to get out, so we did a short mile and a half walk around Canton, and she was fine. Even though I’d only walked 4 miles so far today, I wanted to get on the Natchez Trace Parkway while it was still light out – the National Park Service owns a whole stretch of road that bisects Mississippi and goes from the southwest corner all the way to Memphis – it’s an old historical trade route that’s been used by Native Americans, then wagons shipping goods from the Ohio Valley area to the southwest. It’s seen a lot of activity over centuries. Now it’s a beautiful peaceful parkway – trucks are not allowed on it and there’s no signs and no need for traffic signals, and no billboards, wires or lights. It’s wonderful and beautiful and stretches for hundreds of miles. I traveled on about 140 miles of it. It got dark while I was driving, and that was a very different experience too. I can’t think of many other places where one can drive for an extended time at night in the woods with no lampposts or other lights or signs – it seems almost primitive in a good way. But, there were also a lot of deer by the sides of the woods, and I must say I was relieved to not have any encounters with them!

It was only about 7:00 when I got off the parkway at Tupelo (Elvis Presley’s hometown) and I was going to camp at Trace State Park since it wasn’t raining anymore. Along the way to the park I passed a huge shopping mall, and decided to stop and do a little more walking inside since I hadn’t finished my 8 miles. And it was a good excuse to let Tula rest a little more in the van while I walked in the mall. I covered 2 1/2 miles in the mall and even did a little Christmas shopping afterwards before they closed. Then I drove to the state park, and there were lots of sites by a lake, and not lots of people. I’m good at getting set up after dark now, and it was a cozy night.
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