500 Miles

The Cast: Cindy (I’m not going to say, it’ll spoil the ending), Dawn (license holder, and my ex), Erich (my traveling companion), Leslie (the driver & Dawn’s mother), Myself (traveling companion to Erich), Shalon (the girl Erich walked for).

We all have those people in our lives that we say we would do anything for. Some of us are fortunate to not only have more than one of those people in our lives but are also fortunate to have those people that would do anything for us as well. Those are very easy words to say if you think about it, “I’ll do anything for you.” Because how many of us are asked to do that ‘anything’? So think about it for a moment. Really think about it. Would you be willing to walk 1,000 miles just to fall down at their door? I did.

Sometimes you have a great idea (but really it’s stupid) and sometimes your friend has a great idea (but really it’s stupid) and then you act upon one of those great ideas (but really, it is stupid) and you see what fortune will unfold for you (and it’s stupid—but you don’t care). One fine summer’s day Erich and I did just that. His stupid idea was to walk to a neighboring town to visit the girl he liked, and then we could walk to another neighboring town to visit the girl I liked. My stupid idea was that his was not a stupid idea. So we gathered up supplies and headed North.

I will remind my readers that Indiana Jones is cool, and so is his satchel. However, they do not have much room for water bottles. Especially if you have made them yourself from no particular set of measurements. Erich and I filled our bags with basic foods (see Almost There) and we had found a couple of glass water bottles to fill, thinking that they would be enough to sustain us for our short journey. Because the first town on our little stop was Wales and it was not far from Manti—where we were—and we were manly men, tough and able to handle whatever nature was going to throw at us.

We had not even made it out the door before we had to refill. Granted we each drank one bottle of water to “hold” in our tummies so that we basically could have two bottles of water. The one we drank and the one in our satchels. Once done, we headed North towards Erich’s would-be girlfriend. Erich figured that if he did this Shalon would have to fall for him due to the enormity of this gesture. After all, who walks to your door just to see you when it’s miles away? Only the most wonderful of human beings, that’s who. Well no, not really. The people who walk miles to your door are just crazy people. We have cars now that can get you there. Boys are stupid.

As our journey began Erich and I talked about the girls, what we could do in the afternoon once we arrived at their homes, and sipped from our water bottles. By the time we had emptied our bottles, we had reached the last home on the North side of town. Apparently, on a hot day, 12 ounces of water doesn’t go very far. Who could have known? Anybody who was thinking, that’s who. However, fortune was on our side and we came across a little home with a sweet looking woman inside.

“Can we refill our water bottles, please? We were hiking about and ran out of water.” Came our plea.

“No. Get out of here. I don’t know who you are.” Came the grumpy and suspicious response.

“But it’s hot out here. Please?” We tried again.

“I don’t trust you. I don’t know what you’ll do to me.” You would have thought our bottles were handguns or something.

“What about from outside? Can we just fill them up from a hose or something?” Erich tried one more time. Erich’s patented charm did the trick this time and the sweet looking, but overly suspicious, little lady relented and allowed us to fill up our bottles from her artesian well located in the back yard and guarded by a savage dog. In case you don’t know what an artesian well is, it is a naturally filtered spring water that now sells for big money because it is believed to have all sorts of wonderful minerals and revitalizing stuff in it. Like it’s magical or something. That may or may not be true, but what I know is that it tasted like dirty ditch water and drinking the well water was just slightly more preferable than drinking my own vomit. But only because the artesian well water was cooler in temperature. Somehow those 12 ounces of artesian well water lasted us the entire rest of the journey, with some even left over at the end. Maybe it is magical after all…

Rather than follow the highway, because that would take us the long way around, Erich and I traveled more as the crow flies. In a basic straight line. We followed old farm roads and if it wouldn’t harm the fields (meaning if the farmers weren’t around) we would cut through fields to shorten our sojourn. As we walked we talked and tried to recreate the stale roll into soft yummy once again. We had wrapped more of the rock-like rolls in aluminum foil, but there was no humidity, and it was hot, so the rolls just dried out even more and became more rock-like and tasted like burnt toast when licked (we couldn’t bite into them, they were too hard). We needed to take our minds off all this negativity. Song was our answer. More specifically, one song. Even more specifically, parts of one song. Still even more specifically, the only parts of one song that we sort of knew.

‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ is a song written and performed by The Proclaimers in 1988, and came to America in 1993 as part of the soundtrack from the film Benny & Joon. This song was part of a subplot in the television series How I Met Your Mother when a cassette with the single song becomes stuck in the car’s cassette player and the song loops continually. The characters gain and lose interest in the song throughout the episode. The exact same situation occurred with Erich and myself. With the noted exception that we had no car and thus no cassette player to get the cassette stuck within. We did, however, sing 500 Miles over and over and over again. Well, parts of it anyway.

It would go something like this:
When I wake up, well I know I’m gonna be,
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next you
When somethin’, yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who somethin’ somethin’ you
If I get drunk, well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who somethin’ drunk to you
And if I something, yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s somethin’ somethin’ you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah
Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah

When I’m working, yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you
And when the money, somethin’ for the work I do
I’ll pass almost somethin’ somethin’ somethin’ you
When I come home (when I come home) well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah
Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah

When I’m lonely, well I know I’m gonna be
Somethin’

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah
Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah

When I’m dreaming, well I know I’m gonna dream
I’m gonna dream about the somethin’ somethin’ you
When I…

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah
Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah
Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah

I’m gonna be the man who comes back home with you
I’m gonna be the man who’s coming home with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles
To fall down at your door

Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah
Dada da da (dada da da)
Dada da da (dada da da)
Da da dum diddy dum diddy dum diddy dum da dah

And I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door*

Oh, how we accidentally butchered that song over and over and over again. But we were given our punishment. The artesian well water was always in our bottles to help keep us hydrated. No matter how hard we wished it away. No matter how much we hoped it would be something different. It never was, and it never left.

The journey itself was pretty uneventful save for the giant bull we passed in one of the fields. As we were busy losing our minds in song and artesian well water, Erich and I failed to notice a large and angry looking bull in the adjacent field to ours. We reflected that all should be well if we just shut up and walked calmly onward. It was clear that the fence that surrounded this bull was electrified, as there were signs that informed us as much. So we just kept walking along while the bull watched us, either out of fascination or he was plotting our demise. It was hard to tell. But as we got closer we noticed that we had a small problem. The wire fence that we crawled through was the same fence that surrounded the bull’s and our field, and it wasn’t electrified. Additionally, the wooden fence that separated the bull from us had a broken section in it, leaving us open for attack should the bull become so inclined. Oh joy.

Once again the heavens smiled upon us as the bull only decided to run at us when we had reached the other side of the field and began to crawl through the wire fence. Also, the bull stopped running at us and just turned and ran off in another direction. Happy day.

Hours—and almost no artesian well water—later we made it to Wales and found Shalon’s home. When we rang the doorbell she answered. She was home. It then occurred to me that she may not be home to receive us. That would have been bad for us. Erich asked if we could have some water. She asked about our water supply, we explained it to her, and then demanded (politely) the water we had just asked about. She brought us each a glass. We asked for a pitcher of water and took turns draining it. Erich and I drank about four gallons each.

After some rest and chatting, Erich and I took our leave of Shalon and headed Northeast to Cindy’s home in Moroni, a much shorter walk than our first one. Although we had refilled our water bottles with tap water from Shalon’s home, it still tasted like the artesian well water. Maybe it is magical, but in an evil way.

Once at Cindy’s door—oh I was excited to see her face—we knocked and were informed by her mother that she was not home and had not been home most of the day. Oh… wonderful… that’s great…

“Didn’t see that coming,” Erich said.

“Now what? She was our ride home!” It could be inferred that I was upset.

Erich thought that we should call a friend to come and get us, since it was getting dark, and—more importantly—people didn’t have cell phones. We would have to call a friend as our parents would kill us for very different reasons if they found out where we were and how we got there, and that they had to come and pick us up.

In another neighboring town was a family that liked us enough and might help us out. We had known them for some time, I had dated one of their daughters, Dawn, and she might be willing to come and get us.

We once again knocked on Cindy’s parents’ door and asked to use their phone. Erich called Dawn, she wasn’t there but her mother, Leslie, was. Erich asked if she could come and get us instead and eventually, she agreed to give us a ride. It only meant that she would have to drive North from Spring City to Moroni, then South to Manti, then North once more to get home in Spring City. No big deal. It wasn’t like she had been asleep because she had to be up early the next morning or anything. All was well.

I don’t even have words…

Author’s Note: From Manti to Wales it is about 16 miles—as the crow flies, from Wales to Moroni it is about 9 miles—as the crow flies, from Spring City to Moroni it is about 10 miles—following the road, from Moroni to Manti it is about 24 miles—following the road, and from Manti to Spring City it is about 18 miles—following the road.
So for all you math wizards out there, that means Erich and I wandered about 25 miles through farmer’s fields to find the girls we were swooning for (but mine wasn’t there). Our friend Leslie drove about 52 miles to pick us up, take us home, and go back to her home to get back to sleep.
“And where was Cindy in all of this?” you may be wondering. Well, I’ll tell you. She and some friends had left earlier in the day, and then spent it, trying to find me and our mutual friend Erich. But they had used a car and the main road like thinking people would do.

*those are not the correct lyrics
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) Songwriters: Charles S. Reid / Craig M. Reid
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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