Our 14 days of self-quarantine are over and, for some reason, I started to wonder: “how far could I have walked in 14 days?” Suppose I started out from Fish Pond Village, where we live in Waco, Texas. First question: Do I want to go north, south, east, west, or some combination? I don’t have a compass handy, although there is one on the dashboard of our car. But I can’t take the car—I am committed to walking.

I think I’ll go north and head in the general direction of Shickshinny, Pennsylvania, where I “grew up.” Siri, my faithful friend to whom I have given an Irish accent, tells me that it is about 1,570 miles by car and about 1,339 miles as the crow flies. I have never heard of a crow flying from Waco to Shickshinny, although they are “large, intelligent, all-black birds with hoarse, cawing voices.” I also have heard that crows often are hit by trucks since they can’t warn fellow crows because they can’t call out “truck, truck.” Instead they call “caw, caw,” and are therefore less likely to be hit by one.

A crow is a bird of the genus Corvus, not to be confused with Covid, and they are constantly on the lookout for hawks, owls, coyotes, racoons and the occasional hunter. You will undoubtedly find crows between Waco and Shickshinny.

But back to my original question: how far could I have walked during our 14 days of isolation? Again, Siri was helpful: “A healthy person can walk 20 to 30 miles in 8 hours” and “even beginners easily survive a 6-mile walk in two hours.” I’ll classify myself as intermediate and healthy, so I should be able to do 25 miles a day. Dividing 1,570 by 25 tells me that it will take 60 days to get to Shickshinny. That is close to two months and then I would have to walk back.

I need a more realistic goal: 25 x 14, divided by 2 because I do want to come back. I could go 350 miles if I didn’t return. However, returning is crucial—my wife and dog are waiting—so I could only do about 175 miles before turning around.

Even with such a modest goal, I will need tactical support. I will ask my friend, Ken, who has a Ford 150, to be my assistant. We will load the truck with Gatorade, Ozark sparkling water, vitamins, chewing gum, Ritz crackers, disposable adult diapers and freeze-dry vegetables, as well as extra sneakers and sweatbands. I will keep walking, but periodically he will pull along side of me and hand me whatever I want or need.

However, when I looked 175 miles north on my i-phone, it headed me towards Wichita Falls. That doesn’t sound right, so I’ll try going west. Again, my phone doesn’t help—instead, it tells me it is 4,039.82 miles to the North Pole, which obviously is north.

I need more help and our church motto is “Sacred, Simple,” which fits my goal perfectly. What could be more sacred than walking and, of course, praying? And what could be more simple—place one foot ahead of the other—it doesn’t matter which—and keep moving.

This is where the Internet can help me: I read that GoFundMe is a “free and trusted” fund raising site, but there are many others. Mine will be called “step-a-thon,” whereby after every 1000 steps I take, people will contribute $1 to our church. After 10,000 steps, another $1 will automatically be deleted from their on-line account to supplement the pastor’s salary. This should raise money faster than playing bingo or selling baked goods.

It turns out now that it doesn’t matter that we have completed 14 days of isolation. There is now a “shelter in place” order, whereby we are to stay home: the president has invoked the Stafford Act, declaring a national emergency relief measure, first set up in 1974. I am hoping it will help us with our HEB curbside grocery service.

It wasn’t total isolation: one of our grandsons came to visit us this week. He stayed by his car and we were in the garage, but we had a good chat. We also skyped with family in Australia and we are going to try zooming in on members of our Life Together group.

Fourteen days isn’t too long when you think about it. Jesus was led by the Spirit to the desert, where he spent 40 days, and his only visitors were Satan, wild animals and angels. Ponder that and you can put 14 days (and counting) in proper perspective and not feel worried because you had no visitors.

Not isolated but “sheltering”
Day 18 and counting (slowly)
Karl and Joice Franklin