Crawling Old Man . . . Mark Twin’s Warning

When we drove home from Michigan, we decided to stay one night in Hannibal, MO. We wanted to experience Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens) homeland &  hoped to inherit a bit of his muse while we were there. We found his boyhood home after educating ourselves about his traumatic life.Then the rainstorms began.

So, we headed out of Hannibal in a downpour.

 My Honey was snoozing in the passenger’s seat while I drove the “Ghost.” My mind was deep in thought of Mark Twain’s interesting life.
 At that moment, an old man wearing a brown hoodie began to crawl across the highway. 
I hit the brakes & right before my eyes, the man turned into a slinking coyote.

                                             The animal slipped back into the brush beside the road, just as two motorcyclists passed me going way too fast.

                                I had to believe the “old man” was a vision sent to me by Mark Twain’s spirit.
                                Honey, awakened with a start, & commenced to lecture me that no one should ever brake for an animal. 
                               “But…but…it looked like an old man crawling onto the road.” (And to myself, I thought, it was Mark Twain warning me.) 
                               “Besides,” I pleaded, “I saved two bike riders from a fatal accident. The old man would have flipped them over like dominoes.”
                               I want to believe that Mark Twain caused me to brake for that old man. The biker’s were not supposed to slam into that coyote & die that day.  After all, Twain had foreseen his brother’s death & that inspired his interest in parapsychology. He believed in spirits, apparitions, and afterlife. 
                     “So there.  Honey!”
                               Clemens was born in 1835 during a passing of Haley’s comet, & he died in 1910, two weeks after Haley’s comet passed again. He was a typesetter for newspapers before
                                becoming a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. His pen name, Mark Twain, is a term for a measured river depth of two fathoms.   

  After his brother was killed in a riverboat explosion, Twain decided it was a sign to quit that profession &  try his luck at gold mining.
 Near Angels Camp, CA, on Jackass Hill, he wrote a humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” It became popular
nationwide & soon the Jumping Frog Jubilee began. The first one was in 1893,in Copperopolis, CA,
(where my brother lives today…& I believe competes in the frog jumping.)  

                                                 The event soon found a permanent home in Angels Camp.
                                    That short story began Twain’s successful travelogues. Later, he wrote Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer & countless
                                                other writings.
                                                 I’d like to return to Hannibal, MO & take a river cruise that is depicted to flow by the sites in Mark Twain’s novels.
A visit Becky Thatcher’s home & maybe Unsinkable Molly Brown’s abode, but I hesitate… 
the memory of that hooded old man slinking onto the highway, causes me to shudder. 

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