May 1, 1997
Location: Palmer, Nebraska - Location: 41:13:20N 98:15:25W Elevation: 1798 feet
Summary: Fullerton to Palmer
Journal entry: Morning entry: May is here. Several of us have slept in barns the last two nights. Last night was so COLD. Thick frost cold. How did those pioneers ever stay warm at night? They probably just froze. Our wake up bell could have come earlier. I was already awake.
Evening entry: Today was my roughest day yet. Physically it was grueling for my poor feet. We traveled 24 miles according to the odometer on the bus. But my feet ached every step. Many people are taking ibuprofen to help with the swelling and pain, but I cannot take this because of another medicine I take. The last ten miles was only because of sheer determination. I was in agony. Not only was it my feet, but my legs also.
If I thought rags would have worked better, I would have done it. I wanted to sit and never get up. But if you sit-you never get there. It is more difficult to start again after you have stopped than to just keep going. But it was not just the physical pain I felt today. There was more.
We crossed the Loup River today. It was early and we were still strong. It is quite a wide river and crossing over the bridge took 5-10 minutes. Many places were swift and probably quite deep. I wondered how the pioneers crossed and was it difficult?
Not long after we had crossed I felt within me a great sense of sadness. It was a painful sadness and I could not help but wipe away a few tears. I wondered what I was feeling and the impression came to my mind that this was an area of great sadness for many of the pioneers. Crossing this river was quite difficult for many people. It was frightening to have to wade through the water, perhaps losing your footing on a wet stone or having no footing. The sands are soft. Was there quicksand here?
I recall reading the story of a woman who had prize shoes she cared for dearly. As she approached the river, she put her shoes down on the bank. In her hurry to cross, she forgot her shoes. She did not remember them til she was on the other side. It had been such a frightening experience for her, she walked away from the river and walked barefoot to the Valley leaving her shoes behind.
There is also the story of the girls who were so frightened with crossing rivers, they were not normal mentally for days afterwards. As I walked the endless miles this day, it was more than my pain I felt. I know as I watch our little group, that groups of years ago also suffered. I am sure that my friends misinterpreted my constant tears this day as tears for my painful feet. But my tears were not for me, they were for you my brothers and sister of long ago.
To My Pioneer Brothers and Sisters
We have never met, Yet I know you.
I have read the stories of pain and sorrow
Of love and joy, That were yours.
I have not buried loved ones in shallow graves
or billowed seas.
Yet, today I felt some of your pain.
I followed a few of your hallowed steps through
This...to imprint in my soul,
My road seemed never ending as my tormenting pains
"Stop! Stop! I cannot go further.
But to stop is to quit.. And you never did.
My tears flowed freely as I imagined your pain---
If as great as mine:; "Twas endless.
I am sorry your pain was greater than mine,
For mine was unbearable.
Could I have lightened your load or eased your burden
Would have been my greatest desire------
To the unnamed thousands of you,
my brothers and sisters of old who
Passed through this place,
My grateful tears are for you.
May 1, 1997
Just beyond the Loup River