May 21, 1997
Location: Paxton, Nebraska - Location: 41:07:27N 101:21:21W Elevation: 3054 feet
Summary: Wednesday, May 21, 1997 (Cloudy then rain 67F)
Journal entry: [Translated by Tomoko Nakayama]
The scenery today was great. Fields and hills expand in a 360-degree view. Wagons stretch out in a long line and people with pushcarts come after the wagons. Because it was cloudy when we started walking, the climate is also great. We don't sweat and a refreshing cold wind from the plains keeps blowing.
"We are like the real pioneers who aimed to the West, and kept moving." I felt this, so many times. Anyway, the scenery is amazing.
"A camera may not be able to show this great view well." Takako says, while holding a camera.
"Yuji, Koji, you may never have another chance to see such an awesome view, so look around and remember well." I say proudly.
As I walk the rough road impressed by the scenery, I saw something fell off the wagon. I wondered what it was, and decided to go back and pick it up.
"Oh, my! It's a brake..."
It was a wooden brake that was attached to the wagon.
"Max, a brake fell off," I shouted to him from the back, and tried to catch up. Max is an old guy who drives our wagon. He can't get off from the driver's seat easily once he gets on because of a bad leg.
"Just put it in somewhere!"
I wonder if it is really O.K.. I worry about him more than the brake.
Well, I am walking, so I don't have any problem, but what about Max and his wife? Will they be O.K.? Anyway, I threw the brake into the wagon and kept walking. Then, something happened.
All the horses which had been moving smoothly, stopped suddenly and the long series of wagons stopped moving. Someone is shouting. Moreover, all the men riding horses are running to one spot.
A horse was caught in a rabbit hole and rolled once over and the rider of the horse was thrown.
"It was Walter!"
He stood once, but fell down crumbly. It was Walter Okamoto, third generation Japanese American. People surrounded him, but he couldn't move at all. His face filled with pain as someone tried to untie his shoe.
"Don't touch me!" Walter cried.
Media cameramen hasten to him, too.
"I'm O.K. I'm O.K." says Walter, clenching his body.
"His bones must have broken completely," I instantly thought, since I had experienced broken or cracked bones about seven times in the past. A lady who was a nurse also runs up to him. Everybody's face is gloomy. They temporarily brought a board and put him on it securing him with tape. Wagons start moving again after he was placed in the baggage area or the media car.
"He won't be back anymore" I felt sad as I thought this.
We stayed in North Paxton at night. The wind was quite strong, so many of us decided to evacuate to a nearby community center because a storm was coming.
"What are we going to do?" I asked my family.
"Let's stay here." said Yuji and Koji. After a while, they had gotten tired of changing camp.
"Let's try to feel how the pioneers did as much as possible" said Takako.
Well, this is a better reason than children's. In the end, it didn't rain, and we spent a fun night worrying about a storm. The children couldn't sleep, so we had fun time talking about when I was scolded by a teacher in elementary school till late.