Jimmy Wayne From the Road - Part 1
Talks to Country Weekly about the first days of his walk for charity.
You tweeted that people are actually leaving food beside the highway for you and bringing you in to eat. Did you expect this kind of support and how has that inspired you?
Don Davis stopped alongside the road just before the TN river and gave me a bottle of milk. An older gentleman named Bill Hatley waited on the opposite side of the same bridge for me to cross, with a thermos full of fresh brewed coffee & donuts that his wife sent him out to give me. The Broadway Diner in New Johnsonville TN wouldn't accept my money; said thanks for what you're doing; hope you enjoyed the breakfast. Judy Dobsdon in Camden, TN paid for my dinner. Valory Music Company president Scott Borchetta donated $50,000. Collins Food Mart let me charge my cell phone in the back. From the big cities to the small towns, USA, everyone has proven their willingness to "meet me halfway". I've been so inspired from day one by the amount of support this project has generated. It makes me want to walk around the world now!!
What is the most touching moment of your journey thus far?
The most touching moment was when a fireman stopped alongside the road in an old truck; I could tell he was a country boy by the way he looked me directly in my eyes and then shook my hand with his strong weathered hand and said "I brought you a water; thanks for what you're doing." I knew that he could have spent that two dollars on bread or milk for his wife and kid waiting in the truck; instead he gave it to me. That act of kindness brought me to tears later that night while I was in my sleeping bag. I even slept with the bottled water to keep it from freezing.
Have you allowed yourself some conditional extra days to make the journey? Obviously, the weather has affected the pace and the number of miles you’ve walked.
My goal is to walk to Phoenix AZ. I assumed its gonna take a minimum of two and a half months. There's no deadline; it's just when I get there. I'm not in a race.
How do you feel like your days and nights are similar to those when you were growing up, and how has this experience been different?
As I've been sleeping outside I've been thinking about many different situations I experienced as a child. One in particular was the time when mom couldn't afford to pay the power bill and all of a sudden the lights would go out; there wouldn't be a warning. You could be in the bathtub one minute and then next you'd be in the dark. I remember Mom setting the groceries on the front porch in the winter so the milk wouldn't spoil, then throwing wood into the wood heater, trying to at least keep the house heated. We'd even heat bath water up on the wood heater. There's so many memories that cross my mind out here. The difference between now and then is that I now have a choice. I have options unlike the kids who are living the same lifestyle I did as a child. I can pick the phone up and ask someone to pick me up at any given time. These poor kids don't have options; that's why I'm so passionate about project "Meet Me Halfway." I want to help the helpless.
What have you been doing at night, when the day’s walk has ended?
After I walk, I journal as soon as possible. I don't want to forget anything. Its hard to stop and write during the day when I'm walking. I have to keep moving in order to stay warm. I can't expose my hands to the air more than a minute without them freezing, especially when it's in the teens and twenties. [Keeping a journal] has always been a part of my life and I think I'll look back on this experience and be very glad I wrote it all down.