Thursday, August 11, 2011
August 10: Today brought a much more difficult assignment than my normal few thousand steps. My cousin Heather's husband Al had arranged a speaking engagement for me at the Ottawa Rotary Club luncheon. I know sixty people may not sound intimidating to you, but when you spend three straight months talking to almost no one but yourself, having a crowd presents a challenge. When the voices in my head get to chatting, I find I am a good listener, but I'm kind of a captive audience.
So fear and apprehension dominated my thoughts in the early morning. What if I'm not that interesting or what if I freeze up and stand there drooling on myself for ten minutes? That may not leave a good impression with some.
Fortunately, my Uncle David and Aunt Jo, as well as Al, and my new friend Jim Rice (not the Red Sox Hall-of-Fame outfielder) were all there to lend support and pretend to laugh at my jokes. The Rotarians were all very friendly and polite as well and they asked a lot of good questions after I finished with my short speech. I wish I could have given some good answers, but you can't have everything.
After the meeting David and Jo took me out to see some of Ottawa. We visited the scouting memorial (pictured), Buffalo Park, some long dead McCandlesses, and a silica quarry, where 10% of the world's supply is mined. After the torrid trip through these tourist destinations Jo and I enjoyed what could best be described as a wine slushy at the August Hill Wine Bar in Utica. David, our sober driver, sipped a sparkling grape juice.
I have another engagement in Charlotte, North Carolina next weekend and will be flying there from the Quad Cities on the 19th. A friend has purchased the flight for me and I am excited about the fund-raising possibilities of the trip, but I am delayed as a result. I can't go farther than Davenport by then since I wouldn't be able to return for my plane ride. I am only sixty miles from there, which should take about four days. I have eight possible walking days until then.
Thanks to the generosity of my cousins there is a solution. I can stay in the Ottawa-Peru area through the weekend and get restarted on Monday. Beginning then I can walk my normal miles and end up in Davenport on Thursday night. Taking so many days in a row off will be frustrating, but on the other hand, I am able to have more quality time with my relatives. Although I feel like I am stuck in quicksand now, later on I will appreciate the opportunity.
0 miles/1267 miles