“Oh my name it is nothin; My age it means less. The country I come from Is called the Midwest.” — Bob Dylan
He rode into Union County Saturday on a little dark bay mare about 14 hands high. She still had some of her rough winter coat.
He said he had left California December 23rd and is headed to Savannah, intending to be there in time for a friend’s birthday party on May 6th. West Coast to East Coast in 135 days, 463 times more elapsed time than a normal coast-to-coast flying time of seven hours. On the other hand, there’d been no need to check in 24 hours in advance or put up with an incompetent “security screening” by the TSA.
Security for this solitary wanderer is provided by a 110 lb. Catahoula Bulldog and a modern variation of a ten-inch Bowie knife.
Born and raised in Kansas. Twenty-seven years old. Ancestry mainly Icelandic and Cherokee.
Found himself homeless after losing a house in a divorce, and has been on the road four years.
The Wanderer has read a good many books and is knowledgeable of Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Norse mythology. The little mare is named Sifreyja, a combination of the names of two Norse goddesses: Sif, the wife of Thor; and Freyja, the multipurpose Norse goddess of love, sex, fertility, war, beauty and death. The dog is named Titus after the first century A.D. Roman emperor, whose full name was Titus Flāvius Caesar Vespasiānus Augustus.
He says his Cherokee grandmother has been his most important influence thus far, that she taught him how to waltz and taught him how to set up all 14 pieces of silverware — four knives, five forks, and five spoons — for a full five-course meal. She also saw to it that he “learned how to play the violin a little bit…and some other useful things.’
Although he has wandered from coast to coast and into the Canadian Maritime provinces, this was his first time in the American South. He has enjoyed some notable examples of hospitality: A few days ago he was starting to ride Sifreyja across the Mississippi River bridge from Arkansas into Tennessee, when a woman towing a horse trailer behind a pickup saw what he was about to attempt and stopped him. She said it was far too dangerous and loaded him and his menagerie into her rig and carried them across the river.
His right-side stirrup broke loose after he came into Union County. A blacksmith at Myrtle made the repair and gave him extra rivets and the necessary tools in case it happened again.
He pitched camp in the back yard of a home in New Albany Saturday night and enjoyed a hot shower, laundry service, and a hot meal. He was a classy guest: showed appreciation, said thank you, but didn’t overdo it; nothing obsequious and no surrender whatever of pride or dignity. He showed an understanding and appreciation of twelve-year-old Scotch, and is a good drinker, meaning he can consume several gentlemanly drams while remaining in good control of himself.
Sunday afternoon he was guest of another New Albany family for Easter lunch.
Sunday night still another Union County family provided Sifreyja with an inside stall, fresh hay, and some sweet grain while Titus and The Wanderer were settled comfortably under roof just a few feet away.
The Wander quoted his new Union County friends this line from one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s poems: “Not all those who wander are lost.” And Monday horse and rider and dog headed east on old Highway 78 toward Savannah.