We all have those moments when we need to take a step back. We have those moments where life hurts, we can’t seem to make the right decisions and we feel like the world is working against us.
We have routines. Family, work, bills and if we’re lucky… a vacation.
We get lost in the grind.
We become standoffish.
We become jaded.
We log on to social media and get bombarded with negativity. We turn on the television and there it is; negativity. It’s nearly unescapable. Personally, it’s the biggest issue I have with social media. Like a hammer to my temple I’m struck repeatedly with all things wrong with this world.
Show me some good dammit!
Give me a reason to look at the other humans I share this planet with and simply say, Hello, my name is Kelly. How are you? Give my daughter a reason to look at her peers and say, Hello, I’m Allison. How are you?
Race, sexuality, religion, politics, hate, violence, opinions, offendments… it’s shoved down my throat and I can not stand it.
We’ve become complainers.
We’ve become so judgmental, so cruel that if we don’t agree with each others opinions; instead of respecting another’s view we’ll shun them. Separate ourselves because we feel our view is the right view. Hell, we may even cut you, beat you, shoot you or publicly humiliate you. Or if we aren’t feeling violent that day we’ll just bully you from behind a keyboard or picket your home or building.
When did it become okay to be mean?
So last week my friends and I were sitting on a boat. The sun was baking us, we were drinking beer, making sandwiches (Ham for those who care). You know, enjoying life. My first thought was I want more of this. I need more of this. I need happiness, joy and more human interaction.
We decided to head north.
I hate sitting still.
Road trips make me antsy but the payoff was tubing down the Au Sable river. To pass the time I played Soda Crush. Level 171 is beast! We made it to our resort and immediately ran to the beach. Drinks in hand, we all exhale and smile.
Ahhh….We made it.
Life is good.
A band was playing.
There was a 1985 class reunion, a reminder I wasn’t nearly as young as I pretended to be. (But I was still adorable thank you very much!)
Two weddings with the odds pretty good that one couple wouldn’t make it to their first anniversary. (But would split the debt from said wedding over the next five years.)
And I had my girls, my feet in the sand and a smoke in my hand.
Then the band says “Randy here is walking across America, give it up for Randy.” That was it. Yes it was loud. Yes people get preoccupied. But seriously, you hear a man is walking across the US and all he gets is a few claps? She may as well have said, Randy here just broke the record for eating cheese sticks with no ranch. Are we that self absorbed that a man walking ON FOOT PEOPLE across OUR country is lost on us?
So we introduced ourselves to Randy.
Thinking to offer a quick hello, maybe even a how cool is it that you’re doing this before leaving him to enjoy his night was not what happened. What happened was, one man, Randy Montgomery; looked up and smiled.
The first thing I noticed was that he had a firm handshake. I for one, appreciate this. It says a lot about a person when they give you a serious grip. Second, he made eye contact when he did it. He did not lose contact once during our chat. He also spoke with passion and humor. Randy is a convicted man, one who was fed up with the negativity and bullshit. He wanted to leave a legacy behind for his children and the proof he was, was in front of me.
As a mother, (and even if I wasn’t) I thought this was beautiful.
This man does not know my child. He does not know your child. Yet he walks for them. He walks because he believes in our children yet fears the world we’re leaving them with.
Let’s face it, these kids have their work cut out for them because we ‘adults’ have not made their futures easy ones. I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it, the media is guilty of it.
Randy took his palm and touched his heart beating inside of his chest 17 times during our conversation. He shook my hand four times. He never lost his smile. His journey is not an easy one and this includes relying on the kindness of strangers. That night after leaving for our room, I worried for Randy.
My first reaction was; would a stranger harm him?
Would someone try and steal from him? Is he safe when he sleeps? Is he eating enough? Does he check in with family? Does his tent have a security system?
These were my concerns. Because I live in a world where people do hurt each other for material things. We want what the other has and some are willing to obtain it at any cost. We steal what does not belong to us. We covet.
Why wasn’t my first thought; is randy finding joy in this? Is he keeping a journal? Does he tell himself jokes to pass the time? Is he enjoying Michigan? Has Ellen heard about this? Because it’s Ellen, she’d dig it. Maybe I should call her…
You know, because Ellen is like the most positive female eva. She’d meet Randy and ask all the cool questions I was too slow to ask. Ellen does inspirational shit. Yeah, Ellen needs to meet Randy.
He’s probably going to pass by her studio anyway…
Back to Randy! Only he knows the answers to these questions right? Only he knows what it’s like to travel great distances with only his own thoughts to keep him company until he runs into other people.
People that may or may not embrace him.
People that do not know what this man with a backpack is doing in their town. But I know, my friends and family now know too.
If you’re reading this, now you know.
I envy this man and his vision. His passion for peace and friendship. His love for all the children of the world. His love for all of us. The three of us, my girls and I said hello to almost every person we passed at our resort. The majority gave no greeting in return. On the river everyone said hello. Some offered us food, or spirits and even offered to take photos. Some danced with us, made jokes and one asked to see my breasts. That man needs a little Randy in his life but I just kept floating hoping one day he found what he was looking for. Because it wouldn’t be my breasts.
Now I stare at the window taking in Michigan’s wonder while it whizzes by me. It goes by so fast I can’t memorize it because there isn’t time. But then Randy comes to mind again. He’s out here walking, alone. He left hours before us. He’s taking it all in. Memorizing it. Hell, he’s even mapped it out.
I couldn’t read a map if there was money involved.
But this man, no longer a stranger but a new friend; is having wild adventures. Crazy adventures! He’s seeing things most of us will never see. He’s learning things about himself most of us will never learn. He was a man that will deny NO ONE friendship. Honestly, if I had the time to hold interviews for potential new friends I would. It’s the cynic in me. Not him though, nope. The guy loves everybody.
Taking a note from his book, I decided I would make friends with everyone who embraced me. Lord have mercy, I’m going big y’all! I’m actually excited to be friends with the whole world! Except that so far no one besides my pals will talk to me. Sigh… It’s okay, I have to believe this is a process. I mean, the looks I’m getting alone tells me I’m freaking people out and you know what? I like it.
It’s Sunday now, work waits for me in less than 24 hours. Plus, I just found out my wifi is down. How does that even happen? Why am I so upset by it? What if I miss something? How will I get my edits done if I don’t have wifi! How will I get Ellen’s number without wifi?
This was my worry.
A wifi connection.
What’s interesting is I write books about violence and corruption. Yes, the hero always prevails and justice is meted out but I’m also asking myself; Why is that content so easy for me to write? And trust me, it’s easy.
I suppose it’s because my creative side comes from my environment, what I see and hear. What I surround myself with. The negativity is always there prodding at me, I relate to it, channel it. My books may have happy endings but for 300 and some pages I’m romanticizing violence for readers enjoyment. We as readers, as human beings, root for the good guy. Maybe that’s why I write the way I do. Maybe that’s why I will never forget meeting Randy.
Because he’s the good guy. He stands for something. Randy is the most positive human I have ever met.
I encourage you to follow Randy’s journey and cheer him on. As he makes his way to Detroit I find myself getting giddy. I want my family to meet him, friends to meet him. I want to throw him a fucking party.
Most of all, I’d like to shake his hand again and say thanks.
Thanks for reminding me of the good. That it’s out there, it’s everywhere and it will embrace you when you slow down long enough to see it.
Click the link to follow Randy on Facebook and tell him KS sent you: https://www.facebook.com/randy.montgomery.332?fref=ts
Peace & Friendship,
PS: If you do have Ellen’s number I’d love you forever.