Monday, December 4, 2017

The last of the saddle tramps

Mesannie Wilkins was 63 and living a hard life in Minot, Maine. She was ill and her doctor told her she might live two or three more years if she rested. She had no one to care for her, and was about to lose her house. So she asked God what to do. He told her to go to California. To be sure she heard the Lord right, she flipped a coin. Heads she'd go. Tails she'd stay. It came up heads over and over and over, so she bought a tired summer camp horse, saddled up and started for California with her dog on a long leash. She had $32 in cash. "I go forth as a tramp of fate among strangers," she said, but instead of strangers she found friends.

"I figured I could rest in the saddle," she recalled, but parts of the trip were grueling and dangerous. Sixteen months and 7,000 miles later, she reached the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, she was feted by several state governors, sketched by Andrew Wyeth, and even appeared on the Art Linkletter TV show. When her horse died before the end of her journey, Linkletter bought her a new one. She also declined a marriage proposal from a western goat farmer.

Her health improved as she rode, and after reaching California she wrote a book about her journey called Last of the Saddle Tramps. If it's not in your library, it's available online. It will cheer your heart to see how a sick woman finds health while blessing others from coast to coast.

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