Like many of you, I have been floating in a news vacuum about Bix and Joe, wondering daily just what is up with these two intrepid travelers. I reached Joe earlier today (probably around 2pm their time). He and Bix were at a gas station fueling up for the next leg of the journey. Joe told me that they had driven through Chicago yesterday and stayed with David and Barb Corcoran (of last July’s Y-12 action) in Des Plaines. This morning they headed north to Wisconsin, and are in the town (sorry, I didn’t get the name) where Bix’s mother grew up. They will explore the town today and spend the night at the Catholic Worker house there.
From there they will head for the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where Bix has family, many of whom he has not seen for 20 years. They will probably spend the better part of a week there reflecting on these amazing and “overwhelming” (to quote Joe) first days on the road, and enjoying time with Bix’s family.
Bix got on the phone next – His voice was so strong and clear! I could feel his tremedous energy coursing through the phone. We talked a bit of “business.” Bix (as always) had some wonderful ideas to get our effort to increase membership in Mayors for Peace off the ground. Bix pulled all sorts of stuff out of his memory banks; didn’t miss a trick.
I asked Bix about their road trip. “It’s just been good,” he said. They first stopped and spent some time at the Peace Pagoda about an hour’s drive from Knoxville. They have been working on it for 10 years; it overlooks the Smoky Mountains. From there they went to Birmingham, Alabama where they stayed with Jim and Shelley Douglass. Jim is working on his next book; this one on the assasination of Gandhi. From there it was on to the Abbey of Gesthemani where Thomas Merton spent much of his contemplative life. They spent some time at his grave there.
Throughout the conversation there was not a word said of prison; only words of their happy, spirit-filled journey. There was no talk of the end of the journey, just the journey itself. It was a blessing to connect with both Joe and Bix, and to share this little bit of their journey together. It was also a wonderful reminder for me to always be mindful of the journey itself and not dwell on the destination.
I am sure we will hear more from Joe (and probably Bix) after they’ve had time to decompress in Minnesota for a bit. Until then I know we all wish them happy trails.