The Wheelchair Road Trip

by Ron Cook

I’ve always loved a good road trip. I once planned a proposed series based on a whirlwind adventure with my faithful dog known as “Travels with Rudy.” Rudy was the most intelligent dog, and faithful traveling companion, I have ever enjoyed knowing. Rudy passed away before the traveling-through-Texas-adventure could be worked out. But, recently, I had a unique opportunity to plan, and participate in a fun, three-day, two thousand plus mile road trip from Colorado to Louisiana to Kansas and back to home-base Colorado! Whoopee under the best of conditions!! But, as you may have guessed from the title … the trip had some major challenges. Once again, Lucyanner lived up to it’s beloved reputation, the one you and I explored together a few months ago in “The Who Dat Nation.”

But let’s back up to the beginning so we might savor the amazing details of a Pecos Bill-like ride on this road-winding blitz of an adventure …

As you may remember, I had moved back to Colorado from Florida at the end of May. In fact, it was over Memorial Day weekend. After spending a month bouncing around my family’s homes, I decided to try living in a Spirit-filled community sometime near the end of June. My brother in Louisiana became interested in the community and asked me to keep him updated on how I was doing there. Because he is a servant, always looking for how he can help others in their need, he found a vehicle at Saint Mary’s Training School and arranged for the vehicle to be offered to my community. It was a 12-passenger van! Our van had just broken down and needed to be replaced. After speaking to the leadership and the brothers, arrangements were made for Eved ( another brother in the community) and me to fly to Louisiana and drive the van back.

The plane tickets were purchased, a car was rented, and a room was reserved for us in Alexandria. But then Fate threw me a sliding curve ball in the form of a broken fibula below the knee, and a sprained right ankle from a fall at my daughter’s home in Paonia, Colorado. I do have a very colorful story that sort of tells the truth (and maybe embellishes the details), but it was basically just a slip and a fall in a little ditch.

Okay, should I go, or should I not … that was the question. Understanding that I am a male and, as you know, we are likely to “selectively” listen to what we want to hear, I decided to make the trip. The community bought a very nice wheelchair and a pair of crutches, so off we went, flying to New Orleans, Louisiana.

As you all know, I love Louisiana, and Eved was in for a wonderful experience with its people. After a delicious lunch at a great Nicaraguan Cafe in New Orleans, Eved and I made the three and a half hour drive to Alexandria. We treated ourselves to a Mongolian Grill dinner, and set off for the hotel near the airport (they were surprised at the grill when we asked for chopsticks, but that’s what we use in our community to eat our meals).

The next morning we had breakfast with a good friend of mine, Jim, at the hotel. A lovely Louisiana transplant named Cece entertained and took care of Jim and me while we went out to have a cigar by the pool, while Eved and my brother made the arrangements for the van. St. Mary’s Training School is a wonderful and dear place to my heart, and we are deeply grateful for their generous offer.

We are on the road again now driving 17 hours straight through, with a few gas and needful breaks, to Overbrook, Kansas. Keep in mind that I could do none of the driving. Eved did every single mile of it. My job was to navigate our routes, talk to the locals (I understand the Cajun Ways, let’s say), and keep Eved awake and in conversation. Leaving at around noon from Alexandria, we arrived somewhere around 5 a.m. the next day in Overbrook, Kansas.

After an hour and a half of sleep, I woke up and attended the morning praise gathering at the Overbrook community. The singing was wonderful, the dancing was joyful, and breakfast was scrumptious. The Overbrook Kansas Community has 350 Acres of farmland and orchards that are cultivated for the distribution among the Twelve Tribes Community. We brought back to Manitou Springs, 6 bags of Ancient Grains, potatoes, tomatoes, apples and onions. So after being there a total of 3 hours, Eved and I were back on the road, of course, Eved still driving. 11 hours later we were back in Manitou Springs, just in time for the evening gathering at The Community House. We began looking for property in Alexandria even before we left Colorado, but after the trip, Eved was so impressed with the people of Louisiana that we began to look even more earnestly for property there.

After a few days of being back, I noticed my ankle was not getting better, so I arranged to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon and have my ankle x-rayed again. These X-rays showed a serious broken spot at the bottom of the tibia and fibula that has to be repaired surgically. I don’t know if this would have changed my decision the week earlier, but I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time the decision was made. So now, I’m waiting for the swelling to go down and a blood clot to dissolve, so I can have surgery, hopefully, next week.

And, so, you ask, what is the point of this story? For me, it’s a miracle what a 70 year old man can still do with his life. It’s a miracle how much pain we can endure. And, it’s a daily Miracle to get the loving reminder of the brotherly/sisterly kindness and love that exists in Louisiana. You live in a special state, with special people, and special food, of course. (We did make a stop at Quibodeaux for a little taste of Louisiana Cajun cuisine:-).

Another amazing piece of this story is the community that I have found in Colorado. If you would like to hear more about that, the next article I present to you, for your consideration, will be called “What If … There Is A Utopia?”

The presence of the blood clot and the seriousness of the ankle injury have caused me to reflect for a moment on my life in the present. One of my favorite poems for that reflection is Robert Frost’s poem, ” Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” And, as Robert Frost says, I do, indeed, have “miles to go before I sleep.”

Ron Cook

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