Back in Time


I knew it was there.I had seen the impact. I searched through the sands while my fiends hooted I owed them each a dollar. Considering there were five of them and that I only made 4$ a month on my paper route that was a huge amount of money for a 15 year old.

Just 2 minutes before lounging on the summer banks of the Rappahannock River on a weekend fishing trip I had spotted a fly on the tip of my great toe partially poking through my worn out sneakers. With BB gun in hand I had bet them each a dollar I was good enough to kill that fly.

I aimed and shot and was sure I hit my mark.

Scouring the nearby dirt I let out a whoop for there was a BB with half a fly attached. I showed them …and they angrily paid up.

Not dealing with anger too well I went inside the old abandoned plantation home belonging to the family of one of my friends. Down creaky stairs I went to a basement lit by high tiny windows. And on the wall in front of me…shackles which had not been moved in 100 years. I was stunned and suddenly my visions were filled with slaves attached to the walls, even little ones with shackles closer to the floor. Suddenly the 5$ in my hand was meaningless.

Today I pass over that River and look to the southeast and recall those shackles on the wall.

All throughout the South there is debate now about Confederate statues, name places, buildings, military bases,roads etc. I have always had a great respect for History and wonder about the changes being made. Yes they were painful times which still leave scars but I am not wise enough to know if we should change what still stands. We need to learn from our mistakes and then there are still our present countrymen who lost so many souls in that War. I leave that debate to others…

I ride on North.

I know there stood a sign post with a torn sweatshirt sleeve attached…I put it there when I was 14. I was allowed to pedal 8 miles out to the Occoquan River for herring run fishing…again with my five friends. Somehow on one trip my sweatshirt got torn and I put the sleeve there…as a teenage Memorial. It sat there for 2 years…

Suddenly I am in Occoquan and I cross over the foot bridge…it is all on our route…and there not 100 yards away are the rocks from where I fished. I have not seen them in 55 years. The beauty and teenage memories overwhelm me and tears fill my eyes…those of pathos replaced by those of deep joy…

I ride on to Alexandria for my nights stay. It was been a 90 mile ride with a cold rain most of the day but crowds along the way cheered me on.

I find there that the pastor of our night stay church is “to be a sister-in-law” of a good friend, someone who has one of my paintings in her home.

The Möbius strip of time has struck again.

Today I have yet another special treat. The route, 6 miles beyond from our stay tonight goes within 6 blocks of my sons house, within 1 block of my youngest granddaughter’s school. I have been given permission to ride on and tonight I will spend the evening and night with family. Tomorrow I will just be 6 miles ahead of the group as I head towards the Mason Dixon Line and the North leaving memories of slavery behind…

The railroad tracks worked…

3 thoughts on “Back in Time

  1. Nick, I want you to know your writing have me with a feelings you are a talented writer. I do wish those physical memories of the disgraceful slavery years were gone. I feel awful that anyone had to experience this. In alot of ways that history unfortunately is alive in Virginia still. I had never even being from NC. Even though born in SC,Virginia still holds and lives in the memories of the past. I thankyou for you picture’s. I enjoy communicating with you all so much. You all are great people. I have a exercise class so I will talk to you more later. Thanks, Jo Beth DeVore


  2. Safe travels. Love your travel journal- we have travelled the same route many ,many times.
    Enjoy your visit!


  3. Thank you so much for your writings. You paint a beautiful picture with your words. And the pic’s you include are beautiful too. Ride on and stay strong and safe!


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