One month from today I’ll be riding into Minot, Maine – leading a parade to honor Mesannie Wilkins (The Last of the Saddle Tramps), proudly carrying the flag of the Long Riders’ Guild and bringing my own 25 month Journey to its conclusion. It would make me exceedingly happy to have people there from all along the trail, from every state I’ve travelled through, from the times of bliss and the times of near despair. Hundreds of you amazing and wonderful people have made this Journey possible. You’ve helped me find the best route, let me tether my ponies on your lawns, opened your hay barns, prayed for my protection, fed me delicious meals, let me use your showers, given money, laundered my clothes, encouraged me and made me laugh when times were hard, worked miracles with tack issues, taken care of me when I’ve been sick or injured, given the ponies a place to lay up when they needed time to heal, sent notes and messages and care packages, offered water or a smile and a wave as I rode by, welcomed me into your homes and your lives and your hearts and so much more! In my heart you’ve become a linear community and I wish you could all meet one another and inspire one another as you’ve inspired me. I’d love to have you come join in the parade, the celebration, the pooling of memories and sharing of stories. I really wish I could find a way to invite you each personally and specifically! Please! Consider yourself invited! 😉
Juls Goodell is coordinating things with the Minot Historical Society and the town of Minot and she’d love to hear from people who are interested in being involved in any way to make this event as special as possible. Her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org There will be a planning meeting this coming Thursday (10.October) at 6:30pm EST – so input before that time would be great. After that time I’ll be able to fill you in a bit more about plans for the weekend. Right now my understanding is that there will be a parade Friday 8.November 4-5pm as I ride into town. I’m thinking it would be a lot of fun if people (in costume?) on horseback joined me along the way as I rode my last day into Minot – gradually swelling the ranks until we became a parade. 😉 Not sure if this is entirely practical or not? Following the parade will be a grange hall dinner. Saturday morning (9-?) will be some sort of fun ceremony with speeches and laughter and the sharing of stories. There are people in Minot who remember Mesannie Wilkins from when she lived there and I’m hoping they’ll fill us in on the real reason she left town!
I have met so many people over the past two years who read The Last of the Saddle Tramps, loved the book, were inspired by the woman and her story and dreamed of following in her footsteps. I have been incredibly blessed to have been able to do exactly that – and am privileged and honored to be returning to the home town of a true, trailblazing American heroine. Her book reminded me how important it is for each of to live our own unique dreams (no matter how crazy they sound to those who think they know us) and showed me how much we can get done if we use what we’ve got. Mesannie Wilkins was born in 1891, around the time that the first American car was made; she was 22 years old when women got the right to vote. As amazing as it might sound today, simply dressing “for comfort and safety” (read: trousers) was still a fairly radical act for a 63 year old woman in 1954. In so many ways I’ve had it so easy compared to her ride! I do hope to see many of you in Minot. Come join the celebration!