Autobiography Dieter Rolf Fischer Book 11
Book 11 / Ch. 6 Written / Published 12.11.12 /15.11.2012
"Now may the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace in every way." (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
6. Road of Peace
Pushing on south, battling winds and extreme heat, I again crossed the Mississippi at Chester. It's the place, where the creator of the cartoon character Popeye, Elzie Crysler Segar, was born in 1894. A memorial is erected by the bridge, the only crossing of the mighty river between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau.
I was glad on reaching Cape Girardeau. The town's camping ground was well equipped and affordable. I loved the address 1900 N Kingshighway. Right next door I enjoyed a great burger and huge coke at an English Pub. I felt I deserved it after a long, strenuous day's riding.
Following Highway 61, on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi, I cycled through Sikeston. In many of the mid-size towns, can't recall if Sikeston was on of them, two kinds of institutions often occupied prominent positions - churches and banks. Some banks looked like churches, while some banks were built, as if they were places of worship. (But then, some people do worship money, don't they?)
The other prospering sector, if measured by the size and quantity of advertising signs, were legal firms. Even some of them looked like churches or banks. No surprise in the land, where everybody sues for the slightest of excuse. ("Because the coffee cup failed to warn me that it was hot, I got burned and that's why I'm entitled to a few million bucks compensation).
Between Sikeston and New Madrid came the longest, flat, straight section of Highway I have ever cycled on, 18 miles on Highway 61. This was only two weeks before I was due to fly to old Madrid (Spain).
That day I was unsure, where to set up camp next. My map did not show any state parks on this side of the river. I pushed on from New Madrid, after a meal of take-away chicken in a park on the riverbank. It was a lovely evening. Right there would have been a great spot for camping. But my map showed no place where erecting a tent was allowed. I began wondering, and praying, where God would lead me to.
He led me to a very large tent in a town called Wilson. A sign advertised a revival tent meeting that night. People were already setting up chairs, musicians preparing their instruments. It was wonderful to again meet with other Christians.
"Of course, you can put up your tent in the church grounds", said the first person I spoke to. But it got better: "Why don't you sleep in the youth hall. There is a couch and a kitchen next door".
More hospitality was offered after the tent meeting. I was invited back to the home of the family, whose son had preached that evening, for hamburgers. (Sorry, he didn't preach for hamburgers, I was invited for hamburgers).
What an example how to treat a stranger; even when he does not wear fancy clothing or arrives in a Rolls Royce! (Thank you - Rodney, Trish, Josh, Adam and Justin.)
The church proved a great place to overnight - a comfortable couch and a well-stocked kitchen all to myself. I even had access to the main church, a few steps up through a passage way. As I had a quiet time up there I made an unusual find - a blow up toy - an American Eagle.
It was much like the one on my title page of Book 10. This church must have had a fixation for the bald eagles, because there were two more in the youth hall: A picture of a bald eagle hung on the wall of the youth hall, and another in the form of a puzzle, lay assembled on a table beside my couch. I figured that the blow up toy was part of the children's story the previous Sunday. Now it became part of my story.
A roadside stall on the approach to Memphis, the town was called Marion, sold huge tomatoes. After paying for one I got talking to the young man selling them. He was very impressed, after I had explained, where I had come from and that I was 'christ-crossing' America. He promptly gave me another tomato and my money back. (Thank you, Sir, they were delicious.)
It was a leisurely ride into Memphis, until I had to find a way over that river* again! . A deer crossed my path in cool of the morning. It was refreshing to see. Crossing the Mississippi once again I entered the state of Tennessee. (The events in the previous chapter happened after Memphis.)
I stayed two days in Memphis, lodging in a friendly, clean church run hostel. The name fitted my journey rather well - Pilgrim House. I felt like a normal, real tourist as I visited many of the towns landmarks, and the famous Memphis Zoo. Unfortunately, it was extremely hot, both for the animals and the visitors, many were sleeping in the shade.
For the first time I saw Panda bears in real life. (Why visit the zoo in your hometown, when you can ride a pushbike for 2000 kilometers to see them?)
One name comes to everyone's mind when talking about Memphis - Elvis. My route south, on the day of my departure south, took me right past the tourist precinct around Graceland, the Elvis mansion.
Along Route 51 south I spotted a few signs, names of towns, which had me thinking: Benton, Canton, Camden, Cameron, all were within a few miles of each other. Regular readers don't need spelling them out, but I must make mention of Cameron. It links right back to magical No.5 Cameron Ave. and the story of my still imprisoned friend in Book 4, Chapter 17.
The last state capital to visit, during the cycling part of my tour, was Jackson, Mississippi. There were major road works going on; the roads terrible for riding a bicycle. Maybe this was the reason I was not impressed? Plus the fact that on three occasions I was made to feel very unwelcome. One female motorist shouted abuse. An attendant at the forecourt of the museum screamed at me from 100 meters away, as if I was going to ride my bike right through the front door, she was obviously guarding very carefully. Museum? Not my favourite at the best of times.
At the camping ground I was reprimanded for paying the senior rate, which I had done in other places. But in Mississippi senior-age is 65. In Illinois, I think, it was 62. But in that state you are only over 62 if you are a citizen of that state. All others, whatever age their id shows, are under 62, if that makes sense? (But then, look at it - Illinois starts with ill ... God bless all women, who are sticklers to the laws. They need liberation!)
Riding my GIANT just outside the huge capitol building, near the entrance, I happened to find a letter on the ground. It was already opened and must have fallen out of the pocket of the person it was addressed to: Democrat Senator Hillman Frazier. I handed the letter in at the reception. (In my diary I recorded the name Hatwell Frazier. Checking the online listing of Jackson's parliamentarians for this writing, Hillman Frazier comes closest.
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Call me undisciplined - at this point (Tuesday 13.11) I decided to catch up on 'Our Daily Bread' (ODB) Bible reading for the previous day! (Could it be God arrange it that way, so I can't be accused to fabricating any stories after the fact? God does get the blame for a lot of things, doesn't HE?)
The author Bill Crowder, the only contributor I personally met, headed the page: Quaking Aspens (italics mine) and quoted Revelations 2, 10 as his key verse: "Do not fear any of those things... you will have tribulation ten days ... be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."
I had also written that prosperity is often misunderstood in churches. I meant to say that on the outside I sometimes feel poor (which, of course is all relative), but I am rich in other areas.
Let's move forward six weeks on our US / Europe trip, but back six weeks in Our Daily Bread Bible reading. It was also a Monday, written by the same author (Bill Crowder). He wrote on the subject of peace. His key verse on October 1 (Aha, ten won again!) read: "Now may the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace in every way." (2 Thess. 3:16). In the short paragraph the writer used the word peace 11 times.
You see, the day before 9.30 (Sept. 30th) was my last day in Germany. I had long before planned to visit the church, where I was confirmed in 1964. I had never been to this church for a service in 45 years.
Here is the link to Bill's writing for the very next day. The church is called Friedenskirche (Church of Peace) and it's address is Friedenstrasse (Road of peace).
Since in Book 6, 11 I also visited Germany and described two football matches, where the scores came out rather amazing, I must write about another. I only became aware of it hours before this writing on 13.11.12.
For the first time in months I had occasion to watch (and later email) the German TV Channel DW TV while I ate breakfast. I just happened to tune into DW's daily Journal, as the very first segment featured a man, who was commenting on Portugal's economic woes. His name was Friedrich, which translated means Peace rich; or in a more colourful translation it's Fred. (Go you Freds!)
When the sports news came on with the results of the Bundesliga (Football) another bombshell hit me. (This was after the peace rich bit). My team VFB Stuttgart at home lost 4:2 at the weekend, after having scored a half-time lead of 2:0! (In the round ball football, such lead is an almost win, or is it? Sleeping VFB managed to still lose 2:4.
Here is the story in my email to DW TV - dated Tue 13/11/12.
But there's more... (not my fault I'm just writing it all):
The other twist in the PS is obviously a play on words - a Dussel is one who is doof.
There is one final twist, an unintentional message in my email above, because I had failed to proofread my email, two mistakes (in light lettering) slipped in - was & x:
Thanks be to God. HE has already won that war - on the very cross x HIS son died on.
this cross can never be taken away from us.