Written by Captain Mary on Thursday, February 28, 2008

This story starts over 10 years ago, before my 40th birthday. Me and #4 decided to pack everything we had and put it in storage. We were going to hike the Appalachian Trail. First we needed to find walking sticks, an important tool for the hiker. First we fashioned sticks from the melaleucae tree, heading to the southern terminus of the trail we first stopped at my mom and dads house. They liked our walking sticks so much we left them for my parents to enjoy. Still heading to Georgia another stop leads us to #4's old family friend. He fashioned some beautiful walking sticks for us, mine was made of cherry wood. Cherry is my walking sticks name, it was time to put her to use. We arrived at Amicalola Falls, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail located in Georgia. Walking sticks in hand we head up Springer Mountain,Cherry really got her first work out. As I passed through each National Forest, I carved in the top of Cherry. Decorating her as I went. Miles passed and Cherry was there for me, a good tool, to reach, to stir the fire, knocking down cob webs and a million other uses.
We had finally reached North Carolina, where my sister and husband lives. I called her from a phone booth along the side of the road. Waited for her to pick us up, so we could get a little time in civilization, gather supplies and just feel clean for awhile. Not realizing until a few days later that Cherry was not with us. I was sad, for she was with me for 2 states already. We spent a week with June and Mike, but it was time to go the trail calling to us. June dropped us off at the same location, I walked over to the phone booth and Cherry was still standing there. Perhaps Cherry was waiting for me. I was so happy, time to carry on with our journey. We hiked for months it seemed. Time had taken its toll on my knees and it was time to end our journey on the Appalachian Trail. Not ready to go back to civilization we headed to find a taxi to the bus station, our next location would be Long Island, New York. Our taxi arrived and Cherry was put in the trunk. Just wanting to continue our journey we again left Cherry behind. Calling the taxi immediately, the driver brought her back to me. Of course it cost us a few bucks.

After our trip was over Cherry was put in the closet and just forgotten about, the carving on her worn and the bottom was splintered and cracked. She came with me when I Relocated there she sat for years. I got married to #5 and she moved into the closet of my new house. Still standing alone among my jeans and dresses, time marches on.

An opportunity for Cherry to come out of the closet so to speak. I was heading to New Zealand, the airport was the first place I had problems. Before I got on the plane Cherry was examined up and down. She passed inspection and we were on the plane to California, already passed security so we went on the next plane to New Zealand. Cherry was sniffed by dogs and again passes the inspection. For four days we hiked through the rain forests of New Zealand ,time to resume my travels and Cherry and I were off to Sydney,Australia upon arrival I noticed a sign which posted all the things that other countries contributed to Australia, the U.S. was responsible for the roach. Well, Cherry didn't pass inspection. I couldn't believe that I was going to leave her behind. She has been with me so long. I worked out a solution with one of the agents. I would put Cherry in storage until the end of my trip. I figured I would pick her up on the way out of the country. I traveled around Australia for a month and it was time to go home. It was only then that I realized Cherry was in the wrong place. I was not leaving out of Sydney, but out of Cairns. My last chance to retrieve Cherry was to get on the phone to Sydney and see if they would mail her to me. After repeated attempts I reached the right person on the phone, they agreed to mail Cherry back to me in the states.

I arrived home without Cherry all I could do is wait. I waited and waited, just when I had lost hope, Cherry arrived carefully wrapped up and now she would return to my closet among the jeans and junk. She stays there waiting for her next adventure. Don't worry Cherry you will come out and help me through another journey.

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