Apologies for the second post for today, but last night’s updates fell into a cell-hole.

Keep those questions coming, and I’ll keep answering them!

To see the best photos from Day Seven of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

And don’t forget to Tweet, Facebook, type and review your way to Charleston, South Carolina in the To Live Forever Journey to Charleston Contest. Click here to find out more: Support My Aching Feet. Don’t forget those hashtags #ToLiveForeverBook

You can finish the book before I’m done walking. To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these great places: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

“Don’t hit that deer, Andra!”

“I SEE IT, DAD!!!!!!”

“Golly Molly, Andra. You’re gonna kill us all. I hope this restaurant is worth all this trouble.”


We wandered into the Gibbes Store in Learned, Mississippi in search of the best steaks around. After clocking 90 miles in six days, I. Am. Always. Famished.

Dad started his Roy Variety Show before his gigantic butt hit the seat.

“Looks like you like antiques, huh?”

The female owner of the place asked us where we were from. I was too busy shoveling salad with comeback dressing into my mouth to answer, but that never matters with Roy The Talking Machine.

“South Carolina!”

The lady took a step closer. “Do you know a town called Denmark?”

I stopped chewing. Dad said, “I know it!”

“Have you been in that three story antique store there?”

I whirled on her. “You know Caroline????”

Her eyes got wide. “She’s my only cousin.”

“She’s my friend Alice’s godmother!!!” I shrieked. “Alice was with me until this morning.”

“I know her parents!”

And so it goes. In a tiny dot in Mississippi, next to the Natchez Trace, we came upon someone who was practically family.


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My husband, he has these tirades. Filthy, loud harangues that go on until he passes out. He calls me a harlot. A bitch. He rails against me for a minor fleck of dust in the corner, for baking the bread too crusty, for turning my back on Him in bed.

It’s my fault. Really. Fourteen-year-old girls can’t possibly know their hearts. But, my mama seemed happy to be rid of me, so my lips said ‘I do’ when my mind said I didn’t and set up house with Him.

That was a decade ago.

I’m twenty-four going on forty. Or fifty. Who knows anymore?

Sometimes, I go out to the privy over the creek. In the middle of the night, it’s the only place where I’m not somebody’s beleaguered wife or momma. I sit there and marvel at the slice of moon in the sky. The fluttering of bats in the corners. The powdery arm of the Milky Way.

Can anybody out there hear my tears? Does anybody know my pain?

On the outside, I keep it together. I dress nice. Five kids, stair-stepped in pressed clothes that smell of lavender and musk. I sit up tall on the front row of church every Sunday, and I sing louder. Smile wider. Linger longer than anyone else.

I dropped a load of clean clothes in the creek today. I don’t know why. One minute, I was fine. The next, I was sprawled half in and half out of the water, His work shirts billowing in the current.

I rubbed my temple and waded out to the rocky middle. Must not lose one. Must not lose one. Must not……..

It’s the theater of life that’s wearing me out.

A fiction series to explore a phobia. Read the introductory installment here.