On The Road / Series I / Article 5

by Barbara Taylor & Homer S. Sewell III

Here it is the end of January and we have been so busy we haven't had time to get you folks updated on what's happening with us in our travels.

We arrived home the week before Christmas and rushed around trying to get some last minute shopping done. We cooked Christmas dinner for a total of 18 family and friends. My three girls, Melinda, Jennifer and Janet were with us for the first time in four years and Homer's three children, Chip, Jason and Kimberly were also there. We had a nice dinner and some time to visit.

The Sunday after Christmas Homer drove Melinda, her daughter Haley and me over to Alabama to see my mother and then on to Mississippi to see my younger brother, William, for the first time in seven years. Now that we have been reunited I don't ever want us to be apart for that long a period of time. There had been some family misunderstanding that kept us apart. God's answer to prayers had brought us together again during the holidays and it was a great visit. I love my brother, William Jr. Brown very much and he and I had always been close. I have a wonderful sister-in-law, Janet, and I finally got to meet my nephew Joshua and my niece Rachel for the first time. I was so happy and I really want to thank God and Homer for making this reunion happen.

My brother said he had been praying for this day to happen and for us to be able to be brother and sister again. Life is too short to let things like this happen. If one of us had died before we were able to make things right between us neither of us would have been able to rest. Please be sure you ask forgiveness and make up with any family or friends you are on the OUTS with. For the rest of my life I will thank God for the day William and I were finally able to get together again. Now my life is on its way back together. I have a wonderful man who loves me, a great brother and three daughters and eight grandchildren. God has been good to me!

While we were there in Mississippi we had a chance to visit with other aunts and uncles and their families and my grandmother, Rosie Fields, age 84. There were five generations of us women together for picture-taking and visiting: Ma-Ma, (84), my mother, Sally Robertson, (65), Barbara (46), Melinda (28), Haley (6) and baby doll, Sarah Amanda. If you include Haley's Christmas present Melinda gave her...there were six generations! Haley now has a beautiful doll that was made to look just like her.

Sunday, January 3, Homer headed south to Venice, Florida and spent the day visiting with the students there. He also stopped by to see his mother, sister and brother in Central Florida. Then he drove up to speak to a school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was supposed to visit a school in Joelton, Tennessee (north of Nashville) but the school was closed due to an ice storm.

Even though the original AbeMobile was running just fine after Homer spent so much money getting the new engine installed and other repairs done, he was worried about what would go wrong next. So he started looking around for something newer to trade. He found a 37 foot 1990 model Pace Arrow and was able to make a trade. It is so much nicer than the 20 year old 28 footer we had started out in. This one even has a washer and dryer so we don't have to find a laundromat anymore. I spent the week while Homer was in Florida and South Carolina getting the new RV all packed up and ready to go for the five months we will be gone this trip.

We left Jasper on Sunday, January 10 to head for Lewisburg, Mt. Pleasant, Michie and Medina, Tennessee. Homer drove the little red Passat (The little red AbeMobile) up to Hopkinsville, Kentucky and left me at the school in Clarksville, Tennessee. The new AbeMobile started giving us trouble about this time. Homer called several times to the mechanic at Carl Black GMC dealer in Marietta where Chip works. He had completely gone through the new RV for us before we traded to give us some assurance that we wouldn't be having problems. He seemed to think it sounded like a case of bad gas or a bad fuel filter. Homer crawled around under it during a freezing rain storm trying to find the fuel filter so he could change it. When he finally located the filter, he then drove around Clarksville for several hours that night trying to find a parts house with the right filter. When he finally realized no one had it by 9 PM that night he bypassed it with a short piece of hose and off we went.

We didn't get more than about 30 miles and then it wouldn't go over 20 MPH on the interstate. That is scary!! All those big rigs flying by us at 65 MPH and we were hardly able to move. We finally decided to pull off for the night. We found a church parking lot to spend the night. Homer left me at 3 AM the next morning to drive about 350 miles to a school in Black Rock and then on to Little Rock, Arkansas. I called our trusty Good Sam Club at 8 AM and had them come tow the AbeMobile and me to a mechanic. He replaced both filters and it ran fine. Now the problem was getting me and the AbeMobile to Memphis so Homer could meet us and drive on to a school for first thing on Friday morning in Checotah, Oklahoma. Homer told the mechanic he would pay them an extra $100 to drive the RV to Memphis so he could meet us. There just wasn't enough time for Homer to backtrack all the way to Clarksville, pick me up and then drive all the way into Oklahoma in time for school at 8 AM.

The man they arranged to take me and the AbeMobile to Memphis was not a nice guy! He smoked all the way there even though I kept telling him we didn't allow smoking in the RV. He wouldn't drive over 45 MPH the whole trip! Homer arrived from Little Rock about 5 PM. I left Clarksville at 3 PM and finally arrived there about 8 PM. We were supposed to meet Homer across the river from Memphis on the Arkansas side. The guy who drove me to Memphis decided he didn't want to go through town so he just left me in a parking lot to wait for Homer. Homer was getting frantic by 9 PM and so was I. My cell phone was not working properly and I didn't know how to reach Homer. Finally about 10 PM I called 911 and so did Homer and our friendly police in Memphis helped get us together so we could head back across Arkansas to Oklahoma. I was in tears by the time I finally got reunited with my long-lost-ABE. We got to our school around 3 AM tired and more than a little concerned that we weren't going to ever find each other that previous evening.

From Checotah we drove to a school in Hartshorne. We camped for the weekend at Crawford State Park in southeastern Kansas. Homer then spoke in schools that week in Girard, Emporia, Tokeka, Wellsville, Shawnee and Overland Park, Kansas and one school back south in Miami, OK. We camped that next weekend in Waynesville, Missouri and went over to Springfield to visit with some friends Homer has known since 1974. Beverly was still in the hospital since having a brain aneurysm last October 11. She is doing much better and is supposed to be able to get out of the hospital around February 11. Dana and Beverly also have twins, Christie and Richie, who are a couple of years younger than Homer's twins and an older son, Willie.

We then drove to schools in Dixon, Hartville, Rich Hill, Roscoe, Hardin, Camden Point and Edgerton, Missouri. The little town of Roscoe only had dirt roads and about 75 students in grades Kindergarten thru seventh. We drove right by without knowing, had to turn around in a cemetery and go back to find the school. We also visited Wakarusa and Leavenworth, Kansas. Leavenworth has a fort, a federal prison, a state prison and a military prison.

We stayed this last weekend of the month of January in Cottonwood RV park north of Columbia, Missouri. It was cold and raining all weekend. Homer did manage to get the rest of the lettering on the side of the new AbeMobile.

Hope all of you are having a great new year and until next time.....Barbara and Homer signing off for now.