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A Birthday Wish From Meriwether Lewis

lewis and clark nickel, natchez trace

Most historians believe Meriwether Lewis came to the Natchez Trace in a roundabout route from Fort Pickering, the site of present-day Memphis, Tennessee. He rode with a Chickasaw Indian agent named James Neely and two servants. A band of four.

Neely had to check in with his agency office, meaning Lewis probably came onto the Trace south of Colbert Ferry on the Tennessee River. They rode hard to Grinder’s Stand, where Lewis died on October 11, 1809.

Today I was stumbling through the second mile of my walk, close to where Lewis probably hit the Natchez Trace. Cool air tingled on my face, more mid-October than late-March. I stooped to photograph what I thought was a piece of trash.

Only, it wasn’t.

There on the tarmac was a Lewis & Clark nickel. Tails up. Clark’s words Ocean in view! O! The joy! screamed down through time. I swear I heard Lewis whisper……..

Happy Birthday, Andra.

Click here to see the best photos from Day 25 of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

Keep on entering for a BIG FAT FREEBIE. 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.

What? You haven’t read the novel that started this crazy walking business? 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.

Here’s today’s Trashy Reader Question.

 

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72 Comments Post a comment
  1. I just got mega-chills. That’s awesome, Andra! Happy Birthday. What shall we do to celebrate? Hmmm.

    March 26, 2014
    • Going somewhere with you and Tori on Saturday should be a go. Summertown is in the middle of nowhere, though.

      March 26, 2014
      • They must have food. Even people in the middle of nowhere need to eat.

        March 26, 2014
  2. Wow, that is too cool. See, you were meant to be there! Breaking wind or no …

    March 26, 2014
  3. Glad to see you survived the weather in one piece!

    March 26, 2014
    • Today was much better than yesterday. That wind was vicious.

      March 26, 2014
  4. Affirmation and approval from beyond…..WOW!

    March 26, 2014
  5. Happy, happy birthday, Andra!!

    March 26, 2014
  6. Kismet! How totally awesome!

    March 26, 2014
  7. Coolness. It pays to pay attention. [That was not meant to be a pun, but now that I wrote it– why not?]

    March 26, 2014
    • My mom wonders how I see all the stuff on the side of the road.

      March 26, 2014
  8. So glad you found that nickel! That’s so amazing!!!

    March 26, 2014
  9. How are your feet holding up? I think about you every day – in fact, I was telling a friend about what you were doing because she had just taken a trip down to the bookstore in Nashville (I can never remember the name) two weeks ago. As we were talking, she downloaded the book. Have a great day today!

    March 26, 2014
    • Pamela, I could answer this question with a video tour of my feet……..oh, wait. Maybe I’ll do that. 🙂

      Thanks for continuing to mention the book to people. Reader endorsements are the best way for people to find it.

      March 26, 2014
  10. I love discoveries like that, it’s so great when everything comes together for a moment. What a gift from the Trace. Speaking of love I have the same Patagonia coat in blue!

    March 26, 2014
    • Aren’t these coats the best, Lisa? Pretty much all my clothes for this trip are Patagonia. (Not a paid ad.) I’m pleased with how everything has held up to the abuse.

      March 26, 2014
      • The best raincoat I’ve ever had! Actually I’ve been happy with every Patagonia purchase I’ve made and between the three of us, we wear them all the time. 🙂

        March 26, 2014
  11. An omen, you shall walk in the ocean next in giant epsom salts.

    March 26, 2014
    • I hope your District Conference goes off without a hitch, Lou. MTM is coming to the luncheon and the banquet.

      March 26, 2014
  12. tarakianwarrior #

    Just validation that he’s right there with you Andra, walking with you and honoring you for remembering him and bringing him to life once again. Hehe – two reader questions…I’m so lucky that you read my questions. I have been surprised that your pictures show a fairly clean road…

    Andra, I must say I was reading along this morning and when you got to the coin – I had a catch in my chest and my eyes teared up. Validation my lady! Made me so very happy that he’s right there with you…although I bet you wish he’d mend your feet – put a magic potion on them, do something, however, he did do something, he wished you a happy birthday and let you know that he’s right there with you and thanking you…for thinking of him…for bringing him to life for the rest of us.

    Thanks Andra. Definitely figured that you wouldn’t be able to pick up all the trash, and if you did, you’d be hauling so much weight. I mean after all, when we do roadside cleanup we have about 30 – 40 LARGE garbage bags full of trash… People. 😦

    March 26, 2014
    • You know, I really cannot understand why people throw all this stuff on the road. And, the sheer number of alcohol-related items is appalling. So many people drinking-and-driving. I’ve carried my trash out every single day of this walk, or I’ve put it in one of the litter receptacles at the pull-offs.

      I teared up when I found that nickel, Lori. It was a magical moment.

      March 26, 2014
      • tarakianwarrior #

        I can understand why they throw the beer cans and alcohol related items out of the car – open container law – however, I cannot understand them drinking and driving. 😦 Good for you Andra. You’re amazing.

        March 27, 2014
  13. oh wow wow wow! and i am loving the book by the way, i’ll be sure to give you a review when i’ve finished )

    March 26, 2014
    • Thanks, Beth. Every review helps convince someone else to read it.

      March 26, 2014
  14. That’s cool. You look so damn cute in your hat and green jacket! Here’s to good weather for the remainder of the trip. It snowed a couple of inches in Asheville yesterday – ugh!

    March 26, 2014
  15. Lance #

    what a beautiful moment

    March 26, 2014
  16. I’m guessing you won’t be buying gum with the nickel.

    March 26, 2014
  17. What a great birthday present, Andra! Make sure voodoo doll does not steal it from you!

    March 26, 2014
    • I just hope Voodoo Lou’s feathers make it all the way. He got beaten up by the wind yesterday.

      March 26, 2014
  18. That’s precisely the kind of magic I believe in. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!

    March 26, 2014
  19. Drill a hole in that nickle and wear it on a silver chain around your neck or have it set in a mount for a ring as a reminder that your heart knows the way to all the places you are meant to be.

    I can see the outcropping of rock next to you. I suppose you are really having to go uphill some…I’m gonna have to look at the terrain map on Google to see what the lay of the land is.

    I’m thinking of you as you put forth the FINAL steps of your journey!

    March 26, 2014
    • I have a friend who could probably do something with it. That’s a great idea.

      Everything is uphill now. The slope may be subtle, but it’s all up. I can feel it in my hiney.

      March 26, 2014
  20. Finding that coin is a perfect moment. Perhaps you could frame it in some small discreet frame, and put it on a wall or table where you’re likely to see it at least once every day.

    March 26, 2014
    • I like this idea, too. I might not wear it everyday, but with your idea, I’d see it everyday. Thanks, Marie.

      March 26, 2014
  21. Crazy how signs like that pop up when you least expect it.

    March 26, 2014
  22. virginiahildreth #

    Happy, happy Day to You!

    March 26, 2014
  23. Happy Birthday, Andra!

    March 26, 2014
  24. Happy birthday!!!!

    March 26, 2014
  25. Emily Guess #

    Wow! A message from himself. Happy Birthday.

    March 26, 2014
  26. Many Happy Returns Andra

    March 26, 2014
  27. That is an amazing find in that exact place, and what timing!!

    March 26, 2014
  28. Holy Wow! That’s cool, and no COIN-cidence.

    I love your videos. You’re even cuter in motion.

    March 26, 2014
    • Ha. The videos have been quite popular. I can’t stand to watch them.

      March 26, 2014
  29. What an auspices gift to receive on your very special day! I can hardly believe it, except I do. 🙂 I know you must feel you’re carrying the very spirit of Meriwether Lewis on this remarkable journey.

    March 26, 2014
    • I’ll visit him on Sunday, if not before.

      March 26, 2014
      • I think this will be a really emotional visit with ML now that you’ve quite literally walked in his footsteps. It moves me to think of it, Andra. ox

        March 26, 2014
  30. Happy Happy Birthday Andra! I thought of you early this morning as I was watching the local news. Thought you might find this cute and interesting. Walk on!
    http://fox6now.com/2014/03/23/two-tiny-but-growing-bears-now-call-west-bend-sanctuary-home/

    March 26, 2014
  31. Right place, right time Andra! It was meant for you.
    And Happy Birthday!

    March 26, 2014
  32. Where did you get that little tiny book? Mine is much larger. Oh, btw… Happy Birthday!

    March 26, 2014
  33. Act-ually… that five cents? Mr. Lewis wanted a slice of birthday cake and was willing to pay for it. I think you have three days or else:

    And hey, what’s a L&C nickel made of anyway? Old bullets? (Ah ha ha? Hmmm… methinks that ghost will be visiting up north soon. I better get a cake in the oven and NOT take his nickel!)

    March 26, 2014
  34. Way cool discovery! Walk on . . .

    March 26, 2014
  35. You will, of course, advertise widely so that the vast sum of money may be claimed by its true owner? 😀
    That is truly amazing.

    March 30, 2014
  36. Happy belated Birthday!

    April 1, 2014

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