Of course Iím williní, what are you talking about!
When I got there Wednesday night, I had already been driving in the dark for a while and my MapQuest only went to Crawford. I knew that I needed to find Prairie Chapel Road but I didnít relish the idea of exploring down all 4 roads from the stop light there because my eyes arenít all that good. So it was most excellent that the Peace House was right on the road in.
I stopped and there was a shuttle getting ready to leave for Camp Casey so they said I could follow them. I found a park in the ditch down the dead end road that branches to intersect Prairie Chapel in two places forming the grassy triangle that had already come to be posted No Trespassing by the time I got there. (How that happened is pretty interesting too.) Of course, at that time, I didnít know anything about anything and was basically just out in the dark, WAY out in the sticks.
Wandering around the tents listening in on the most interesting conversations I could find, I learned that the Bush ranch was about a mile on down Prairie Chapel. There were various kinds of cop cars sometimes with their lights on and black SUVs and whatnot speeding back and forth on Prairie Chapel and sometimes cruising through the tents around the other sides of the triangle. One of the reasons I had decided to go to Crawford was because of the rumours that there would be arrests the next day on Thursday.
I kind of gravitated to the vertex of the triangle pointed on down Prairie Chapel. At one time there was a red pickup actually parked on the Prairie Chapel side of the triangle. That appeared to me to be some sort of privileged position. I noticed that after a while it disappeared on down Prairie Chapel.
Now by this time, my imagination had sort of painted Ďon down Prairie Chapelí as a direct drive into the heart of the lair. Since I really love dark country roads, I decided to go for a walk on down there. I was pretty careful to get into the ditch if any vehicles went by and nod & wave or look up at the sky or something. My eyes were better than I had realized too because there were lots more stars visible than I had seen in a long, long time!
Not too far into the real dark, there appeared a driveway and gate on the other side of the road with a pickup parked in front of it, running, and two guys standing there swapping stories or something. The guy on the other side of the gate asked me what I was doing so I crossed the road to chat. I said, ďIím kind of wondering where that red pickup went.Ē He said, ďWell thatís my property youíre on so get your ass back there where youíre supposed to be!Ē If youíre following the truthout chronology, I would bet that he was the individual who would later be firing rifle shots.
I went back across the road and continued on down Prairie Chapel. The road was fairly straight and just descended down a small swell. I was still close enough to the nearest leg of the Camp Casey triangle with tents on it that I was able to hear people shouting over the prairie, ďArkansas! Who has a Ford from Arkansas! You better move it! Arkansas!!Ē and stuff like that. I figured there might be someone else they were calling for but if so, I wanted to meet them.
I tried to run back to Camp but Iím not in the best shape Iíve ever been in so I had to walk some of it. It took a while but when I got there some folks were pretty close to the correct vertex and able to tell me that I had to move my car.
By the time I got to Old Paint, the cop was pretty far on down the dead end road so I just sat on the trunk and waited. When he came back, the headlights were way too bright to make eye contact. He sounded sort of amused like, ďI donít suppose this is your carĒ or something like that. I said, ďYeah, I heard he wasnít in a good place.Ē The cop pointed and said I would be all right if I just snugged it up a little closer to the next car in line and made sure that none of the tire rubber was touching the asphalt. So, no problem.
The next day, I took someone back to the Peace House and then decided to take a spin through Valley Mills where I had attended kindergarten. I had noticed that it was surprisingly close on my way in. At that time, I had been living in Mosheim which was much too small to have a school. It did however have two Baptist churches.
When I was five, a fossil in a rock that was a part of the front porch of the house we lived in had captured my attention. So I really wanted to see that thing again. I stopped and was again surprised that the clerk had not only heard of Mosheim but could tell me how to get there. Not bad at all since he was pretty young!
When I was six, I had asked Jesus to come into my life while sitting inside our dirty clothes hamper and playing hide and seek with my little brother, Eric. My Dad was the preacher at one of the Baptist churches so I answered the invitation the following Sunday and he baptized me.
When I got to Mosheim, I couldnít even find the house. The country wasnít as flat as I remembered it. I couldnít remember exactly where the house was in relation to the church but the most distressing thing was not even being able to find the creek. The roads had obviously been improved at some point during the intervening 45 years. So I would have been okay with not finding the bridge underneath which I first witnessed for Christ. But I knew we had ridden our bicycles to it so it couldnít have been miles away. I kept going back and forth through the intersection looking for any indication of flowing water with no luck.
Itís about fifteen miles by road from Mosheim to the Bush ranch. The way the roads curved around, itís probably only 3 or 4 miles as the crow flies. As a matter of fact, I bet thereís a closer way by road because I went through Crawford and Valley Mills. When I got back to Camp Casey, I went on down Prairie Chapel Road half a mile or so past the guarded Bush entrance on the right to Peaceful Valley Road. Itís just a dirt road off to the right and I only went half a mile or so down it. I bet staying on Prairie Chapel would have been a quicker way to Mosheim.