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To Live Forever Tour Stop: Meriwether Lewis

meriwether lewis grave

Dear Meriwether Lewis:

You gave me a gift.

Maybe several.

Inspiration. You lent me your voice. Your story. You let me imagine what you might do if you had more time. Your men looked to you as a father, but you let me imagine how you might father a lost little girl. You didn’t disappoint me.

Fortitude. You gave me the strength to not give up, even when I stood on the side of the road and screamed, “I quit! I quit! I quit!” into a Mississippi swamp. When I couldn’t feel my fingers, when I wished I could cut off my toes.

Connection. You led some of Clark’s descendants to find me, as I stumbled through an open field. “Lewis was murdered!” We found connection in that thought, common ground in that idea. The wind roared in unison with our shared belief in you. Maybe that WAS you.

You left me a nickel along the white line of the Natchez Trace. Tails-up, with “Ocean in view! O! The Joy!” urging me on. I picked it up, and it will stay with me. Maybe you didn’t know I had been carrying the same nickel. Thirty days, it rode in my backpack on its pilgrimage to your grave. I left it there.

For you.

May my efforts make the masses understand the man you truly were.



lewis nickel

Click here to see the best photos from Day 31 of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

You KNOW you’re a WINNER! 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.

Some people read my novel in a day. Beat me to the finish line. 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 Reader Question. I’m flattered, but NO.

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. Almost there!!! (Oh, and thank you for the wonderful review, darling — I’m so glad you liked it.)
    The books for signing just arrived today! I’ll have them out by this weekend.

    April 1, 2014
  2. Reblogged this on Year 'Round Thanksgiving Project and commented:
    She’s almost done. Have you downloaded her book yet? #toliveforever

    April 1, 2014
  3. omtatjuan #

    I’m following your journey… Those feet will need a massage.. Cue MTM..

    April 1, 2014
  4. tarakianwarrior #

    You have such a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing it with us. I’m so proud and honored that you took us all on this journey with you. You did all the hard work and we just rode on your shoulders. Thanks for the ride Andra. And thanks for the introduction to Merry and Emma and all the cast of characters. YOU are amazing. Thank you so much.

    April 1, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on The Quotidian Hudson and commented:
    The countdown is in ernest now. By the close of today Andra will have walked 420 miles of the 444 mile Natchez Trace and will be within 48 hours of the finish line. Bloody impressive if you ask me.

    April 1, 2014
  6. Very, very cool. Though I would have been tempted to keep the nickel and make a necklace out of it.

    April 1, 2014
  7. You left him the nickel on his grave? Nooooo. You should have left him Voodoo Lou and kept the nickel!

    April 1, 2014
  8. Very heartfelt. I love that stuff.

    April 1, 2014
  9. Cheering already….just about time for the balloons, the confetti, the welcoming crowd! 🙂 The book is such an accomplishment by itself. The walk has been icing on the cake for all of us, as I’m sure it has been for you (or will be when you can catch your breath, coddle your feet and look back proudly). Hugs!

    April 1, 2014
  10. A beautiful post!!!! He gave us all a gift thanks to your writing this book!

    April 1, 2014
  11. I think passing on the nickel is a fitting tribute, but your book even more so. Good relationships are about give and take and you and Meriwether Lewis seem to have found a means to do that across time.

    April 1, 2014
  12. I’m sure he appreciates the token of gratitude, Andra.

    April 1, 2014
  13. You forgot to thank him for your feet, which have been getting a lot of hits on the internet and hits on that Trace. They’ll remember that walk whenever you go anywhere. The devil still trying to steal your soles with offers of tempting fleece-lined hoof booties and imps giving them long and poky foot rubs…

    Or perhaps it’s that ghost lingering around because he got a nickel… but not the cake he thought he was going to get.

    April 1, 2014
  14. I am so excited for you, Andra. You are almost there. What an incredible accomplishment! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    April 1, 2014
  15. An excellent “Thank you.” As writers, there are so many people we owe thanks to for their inspiration. Oh, and I purchased your book! I’m in the middle of another read that I should finish shortly, but your book is up next.

    April 1, 2014
  16. wonderful and what a powerful gesture )

    April 1, 2014
  17. Today’s question tickled my funny bone. I went for a walk with my girlfriend on Sunday and as we were driving to the start of the trail, I said, “You know that we’ll be walking into a head wind.” She instantly laughed and asked me if I was Sacagewa. I told her, “No Kemosabe, I am Pocahontas.”

    You are almost there, Andra. I am so excited for you!

    April 1, 2014
  18. Sacajawea was a remarkable woman, Andra, and so are YOU, accomplishing the book and the walk, in your century, on your own time. I’m excited for all the folks, both young and old, who will be reading To Live Forever . . . learning about Merry and Em, becoming inquisitive about Merriwether Lewis, and perhaps, leading them to discover the Natchez Trace.

    April 1, 2014
  19. Leaving the nickel at Lewis’s grave was a very moving gesture. I choked up just reading about it. You honor his memory, Andra. That is the least of what you’ve accomplished with your journey.

    April 2, 2014
  20. I’ve been following your journey here and I’m inspired. With all the embedded videos, you’ve had me looking forward to your book more and more. Kudos to you. I think you’re really talented and following a passion that many are lacking.

    April 2, 2014

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