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The Demon on Their Shoulder

[A guest post by MTM]

Meriwether Lewis was far more human than the comic-book history hero depicted in the grade school textbooks.

Imagine his emotion having led his crew of 30-some tough men to drag and row their crafts upstream for over a thousand miles, only to be faced not with the gentle crest of a continental divide, but the vertical wall of the Rocky Mountains. Imagine the doubt and the defeat, and then appreciate the leadership it must have taken to get his Corps of Discovery to ascend that wall to see the unknown that was on the other side.

Lewis and Clark accomplished their remarkable Journey early in life. What kind of demon must have haunted an explorer who discovered the limits of land, and then had to return to some kind of ‘desk job.’

When Meriwether Lewis was walking up the Natchez Trace in 1809, he certainly carried that demon along for the ride; another demon may have walked by his side. We’ll never know which demon took his life one dark night on the Trace, but having read Andra Watkins’ To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, I have a much better appreciation for what kind of man Lewis was, in all of his heroism and fragility.

Andra has come upon the 2/3 point of her 444-mile walk, about the point in the journey that Lewis was when he came upon the seemingly impenetrable wall of the Rockies. Like all of us, she carries a demon on her shoulder, and it’s not Voodoo Lou (she also has demons in her shoes).

If you are reading this, you are part of the Corps she has brought along on this trip. Her birthday is this Monday, the day she will surpass 300 miles. What will help her get over the hump, and make her way to the finish in Nashville? What Action can you take for Andra?

I have a few ideas: buy the book (for yourself, or for a friend); if you’ve bought the book, read it; if you’ve read the book, review it (Amazon, GoodReads); if you’ve reviewed it, recommend it (maybe you remember the old Heather Locklear ‘tell two friends’ commercial); if you’ve recommended it, go to your local library or independent bookshop and tell them to carry it…..if you’ve done all these things, maybe go back to the beginning and start over 😉….it’s going to be her Birthday, after all, and she does show up here every day with a free story for you that entertains and/or enlightens. Thank you. (MTM)

Click here to see the best photos from Day 21 of Andra’s Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

You’ve still got more than three weeks until April 15. Tweet, Facebook, type and review your way to Charleston, South Carolina in the To Live Forever Journey to Charleston Contest. The more you enter, the better your chance to WIN. Click here to find out more: Support My Aching Feet.

Read the book that started this insane journey with her parents. To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these outlets: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

Today’s Reader Question. About Dad.


24 Comments Post a comment
  1. You are absolutely remarkable – your videos are always upbeat and you are smiling. I’m sure most of us would be whining about how much our feet hurt, our backs hurt, our knees hurt; how the weather is too cold, too hot, too humid, too dry; and many other things. Yet, you continue to smile and trudge onward. I hope you have an amazing weekend. ❤

    March 22, 2014
  2. Reblogged this on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project and commented:
    What an incredible woman/author. And her birthday is Monday *hint hint* – BUY HER BOOK! You won’t be sorry.

    March 22, 2014
  3. Give me some men who are stout hearted men . . .or one Andra

    March 22, 2014
  4. Well done, MTM. I’m sure Andra is feeling that pull of the Continental Divide. Andra, I’m pushing you along, whether you feel or not right about now – and sure do wish I could be at the Parnassus Bookstore when arrive.

    March 22, 2014
  5. So glad to see you’re still smiling. The finish line gets closer every day. Today’s my finish line for the Kickstarter! I’m going to be doing an Ask Me Anything at if you care to drop by.

    March 22, 2014
  6. I agree with John’s comment. Thanks, MTM! And a happy birthday weekend to Andra. Hope Monday is an awesome day for her!

    March 22, 2014
  7. I will 1) recommend, recommend, recommend! 2) Send her a huge birthday wish on Monday. 3) Prepare for next week where I hope I help her reach the end.

    March 22, 2014
  8. With you every day in thought. Sending metaphorical clouds to surround your poor, abused, bruised, blistered feet.

    March 22, 2014
  9. Please take care of your feet! That pic you shared on FB made me cringe. Polysporin on the open blisters and then a big bandage to protect the broken skin and then a bigger piece of tape over the whole shebang. Stay safe.

    March 22, 2014
  10. I have to agree with MTM that Andra has made Meriwether Lewis much more real than the histories I was taught as a kid. He inspired thousands of adventurers to explore the world around them and you, Andra, are an inspiration to all of us. Have a great birthday weekend.

    March 22, 2014
  11. Great going!
    I must catch up with this more as soon as I recover from my extended departure from the real world – or is that one it?

    March 22, 2014
  12. I second (or is it third by now) John’s comment! Happy Birthday weekend, Andra. You really are an inspiration.

    March 22, 2014
  13. I am currently in the editing phase of a science fiction that I wrote… It starts out in Roswell New Mexico traverses most of the Continental United States up throug Canada up into Russia and Australia is involved as well… you’re inspiring me to actually go to some of those places… I wonder if travels to those places could be a tax write off?… LOL keep up the good work!

    March 22, 2014
  14. Andra,
    I’m hooked on your journey and finally broke down, bought the e-book this morning and will begin reading it tonight. Good luck with the home stretch.

    March 22, 2014
  15. How funny. It’s Hellboy Day at comics shops across the globe Demons are in this posts title and in reading the book, I see the devil in all those details. Hot stuff indeed. I think I’ll bake a devil’s food cake for Andra, but eat it all myself just to complete this unholy un-trinity. Death by chocolate is the only way to go in this case…

    I’d rub my hand together as I chuckle, but every time I do that I set my fingers on fire. Damn sulfur… it gets everywhere!

    March 22, 2014
  16. happy soon to be birthday to you, andra. )

    March 22, 2014
  17. themasculinepen #

    Walking along side you. And commenting from my new writing blog for the first time as well. Question: When do you do your videos, before or after your walking?

    March 22, 2014
  18. I’m going to think about what “new” action I can take to help promote the book. Believe me, the Heather Locklear commercial has been well employed. I’ve told two friends who have told two friends…I just bought the book again to give to a friend who is recently homebound. This will indeed be an unforgettable birthday!

    March 22, 2014
  19. I hope the last third of this trial by feet passes smoothly and quickly for Andra…..and here’s to her having a very happy birthday. I’m sure you and Roy will arrange something fantastic for her:)

    March 23, 2014
  20. So was or was not Meriwether Lewis a Mason?

    March 23, 2014
    • Never mind! It would help if I paid better attention to the links and the info contained therein. So he was a mason. Another twist in their “interesting” history.

      March 23, 2014
  21. tarakianwarrior #

    You’re awesome MTM. I’m on it! 😀 I’ve purchased some soft bound and placed them in some offices, and given some to friends. 🙂 Her book is great. I’ve also left reviews although I’m not very good at them, but anyone who reads them know I believe in the book….and Andra.

    March 23, 2014
  22. Happy birthday Andra!

    March 24, 2014

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