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Back in Alabama

January 2, 2013

Alabama – Sunday, December 30

I woke up feeling somewhat human. I can’t believe how much I’ve slept the last few days. But I know it was good for me. I feel okay – just still a little weak, but walking doesn’t sound so bad now! I had ended up in Dothan Alabama right by the Georgia border in the southeast corner of the state. In its early days before it was on the train lines, Dothan was apparently a rowdy town of lumberjacks and turpentine workers. I didn’t really want to see anything in town, so I took my time getting packed up and ready, and found a park nearby with a pretty trail, and ended up walking the whole 3.3 mile trail although I had to rest on one of the benches once. It was about 1/2 mile too much so I was happy to get back to the van. Tula was very happy to be out and about again – she had been very patient with me yesterday and I think she slept as much as I did! The van really needed an oil change, and I had hoped to do that yesterday at a place right down from the motel, but that didn’t happen, and they were closed on a Sunday. But as I started heading out of town I saw a Tuffy Auto place which was open on a Sunday afternoon and got the oil changed and tires rotated – and didn’t mind sitting and waiting at all! I felt rested again by the time they were finished. As further evidence of the “peanut pride” in some of these towns, the Tuffy place had painted peanut statues dressed in military uniforms!

I had already spent 4 days in Alabama before heading to Georgia for Christmas. I had made 5 of my donations already, and only had 2 more to do. I wanted my animal-related one to go to DOC – Dogs on Call, which is a therapy dog organization in Alabama that is run through Easter Seals. These dogs (and their humans!) provide Comfort Care in hospitals, community programs, hospices, VA facilities, nursing homes etc. Special DOC teams also work with autistic children, and people with disabilities and brain injuries, and others work as Disaster Relief Responders in partnership with the Red Cross. I think it’s such a wonderful service. People often seem to respond differently to animals than they do to humans. Their home office is in Montgomery, and since I wasn’t going to get there, this donation will be mailed in – which makes it a bit easier for me while I get back on my feet.

I headed west through southern Alabama toward Mobile. The road was hilly and curvy and there were both fields and forests. I stopped in the town of Enterprise because I wanted to see the memorial statue to the Boll Weevil. The boll weevil of course nearly wiped out the cotton industry – the insect came in from Mexico and chomped its way through nearly 90% of the cotton crop despite poisons and other efforts to get rid of it. Because of that, many farmers had to turn to other crops to make a living, and in doing so, discovered that peanuts were also a lucrative crop. So in 1919, the citizens of Enterprise put up a memorial to the Boll Weevil; not to remember its destruction, but to remember it with appreciation as something that ultimately led to more farming diversity and more prosperity. I was expecting to see a large statue of an evil Boll Weevil, but instead it was a statue of a bug held aloft by a maiden – right smack in the middle of the main intersection in town! It might be the only monument to an insect!

I was feeling well enough to walk a little more, and did just under 2 miles. So I actually covered about 5 miles today, which I didn’t expect. I had made reservations in Mobile for 2 nights – I want to be sure to have a place to head back and rest if I need it tomorrow! So I finished the drive to Mobile and got settled in, and got another good night’s sleep.






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