I was walking that day from Jackson to the Grand Tetons and had stepped off the road to talk to my sister by phone. While talking, an aged car with Idaho plates drove up and parked beside my trailer patiently waiting for me to finish. I’m ashamed to say that in my mind - the Beverly Hillbillies had just arrived and I wondered what could they possibly want? The car, slightly rusted with its sun-bleached paint, was one of those old Chrysler-type models that easily seats a family of seven. In it sat a diminutive gray-haired woman with her three grandchildren. Walking over I introduced myself and shared a little about my cross-country walk. She said that she delivered weekly newspapers to supplement her income and had first seen me in Rexburg, Idaho. Now, here I was again and this time she just had to stop. As I began talking she politely asked me to pause for a moment. She then ordered the three children out of the car telling them to stand alongside and to give me their full attention. They dutifully complied and as a teacher I did my best to make it an interesting but brief lesson on the importance of the constitution and our civil liberties. My momentary pupils - aged 14, 10, and 8, each kept one eye on me and a wary other on Grandma. She, in turn, kept both eyes on them giving the impression that this small elderly matron kept strict but loving order in her house. Thanking me, she seemed unable to stop lavishing praise and placed in my hand a wrinkled $5.00 bill. I told her I couldn’t accept it but she proudly insisted folding it back into mine. As she drove away she told me it was an honor for her to have met me.
I replied that it was I - who was honored by having met her.
I stand today a more humbled American.