I awoke early (per usual) and broke camp. I ate a grapefruit to start the day and did some stretches. I was planning for Greenville, FL, a 14 mile stretch, for the day, but there was also a part of me that wanted to reach Monticello.
It was open road and the shoulder was wide. I alternated between walking and running. By lunch time I was a few miles outside Greenville, and I stopped to eat some grapes. I set my pace slow for the day.
I took lots of breaks and plenty of photos along the way. Sometimes it’s hard having to stop once I find my pace for the day. It seems most of the time once I’m finally making headway I need to stop to eat or pour a bottle of water. Back on the road after a break again, I’ll then have to go to bathroom, or I see something to photograph etc. Then noon time will come and I’ll take an hour break out of the high UV and the heat of the day. It can feel restraining but breaks are important.
I arrived in Greenville at 3pm. It was a very small town. As I rolled into town little did I know I was being watched. I crossed the road to a convenience store that sold slices of pizza. I try to eat as healthy as possible but every now and then I enjoy “something with a little more sustenance” as a friend down here put it.
Deciding against pizza, I crossed the road to Greenville’s only other food service establishment, S&S deli. I walked in and checked out their selections: fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, Mac and cheese. I decided to head back across the road for a slice of pizza. Upon doing so, I was greeted by Deputy Ben Pike.
Well, I was more approached by him, would be a more accurate way of putting it. He pulled up in his SUV and motioned for me to come near him as he stepped out of his vehicle. I put the breaks on my cart and made no sudden movements.
You see, I like law enforcement, and understand they have a job to do. When dealing with police officers, safety is always my main concern. I never want the officer, or myself to feel unsafe. Kindness goes a long way in encounters with law enforcement. Back in Sanderson, Officer Crawford was very nice to me, and wanted to make sure I was safe. I had no problem giving him my ID.
But this was different. Deputy Pike was intimidating. He stood very close to me and maintained a condescending tone. He chose not to listen to anything I said to clarify the situation. He chose instead to maintain his agenda and paint me as some type of criminal. He kept telling me to give him my ID.
Long story short, I decided to stand by my rights. I asked him if I was required to present my ID by law. He would not answer my question and kept accusing me of having a gun, dangerous items in my cart, and being a suspicious individual. I asked him if I was free to go, and he would not answer my question, but kept accusing me of things. I then informed him I would be exercising my right to remain silent until I was free to go.
He put on his gloves and moved closer to me. I thought he was going to throw me to the ground. He kept asking me what was in the cart, and telling me I had to give him my ID. I asked if I was required to by law, and he finally checked with his sergeant.
I was informed I was required to present my ID by law, or I could provide my name and date of birth. I decided on the latter. He accused me of giving him a fake name, told me I was lying, and kept asking me to repeat my date of birth. I gave him
the information he needed and informed him I was remaining silent until I was free to go. I thought I was going to be arrested, Deputy Pike was that intimidating.
I said a little prayer for mercy. Just then Dorothy walked across the parking lot. She asked Deputy Ben Pike if she could give me a drink. He told her she could. I was nervous leaving my spot hunkered down on the pavement, but I found courage and walked up to Dorothy and thanked her so much for the cold drink. She gave me a pink lemonade brisk. It was so sweet and really good!
Dorothy asked Deputy Pike if he was going to arrest me, and he told her no. I then asked him if I was free to go, and he told me I was. I released the breaks on the cart and silently walked away as Deputy Pike belittled me. I walked over to Dorothy and with a grateful smile, thanked her for what she had done for me. Once Deputy Pike left Dorothy, who saw the whole encounter, gave me her perspective on things.
She too, thought he was going to arrest me. She too, got nervous when he put on his gloves. As I sat on the pavement she thought I was going to jail, and then decided to buy me a cold drink.
After sharing the special moment with Dorothy, I headed inside the convenience store to buy a slice of pizza. I headed over to the town park and hung out with my friend Ray.
After resting in the park for just a few minutes, Deputy Pike began to circle. I decided to leave town. One thing was clear, I did not want to be in Greenville, FL come sundown. Camping out in town would not be a good idea.
I was 15 miles from Monticello. The clock struck four. Sun down was at 6:39p.m. I did the math. I could make it.
Five 5k’s, a half hour each. It would be challenging. I decided to use the brisk Dorothy bought me as fuel. The sugar would give me the kick I needed to make Monticello by sun down.
I did it. In two and half hours I covered more ground than I had the whole day before I left Greenville. Just past sundown, I arrived at St. Margaret’s in Monticello.
I met some friends: Al, Tom, and Andy. Please pray for Tom. We chatted in the parking lot for a few minutes and they helped me contact Fr. Dominic to gain permission to camp.
Shortly after settling down, Tom and Andy doubled back after dinner to bring me a plate from their friends house. It was fish, brown rice, black beans, a salad, and a can of Coke. It was so good! I don’t know what the recipe for the fish was but it was baked and was smothered in some sort of delicious sauce. I needed the calories and felt so thankful.