I forgot to mention the great experience I had in Hot Springs last Wednesday. I stayed at a well-known, A.T. hostel called Sunnyback. It’s in a giant white house with tons of rooms and a beautiful overgrown yard with bird baths and benches in it. The house was built in 1840.
It’s owned by a kind man named Elmer. He’s older, I would say going on 70, but still quite spunky, though soft-spoken. He cooks organic, vegetarian dinner for his guests, which was half the reason I was interested in staying there.
At 7pm, the dinner bell rang, and I sat down with Elmer and 6 other guys. We start off by introducing ourselves and then answering a question, a sort of philosophical one, asked by whoever cooked the dinner. It was great. This nights question was, “If you could proclaim an American holiday, what would it be?” One guy said National Cheesy Bread Day, one said a death day, like a birthday, one said a day to celebrate freeing the slaves, I said National Pet Appreciation Day, and Elmer said something I was very intrigued by, “A day to honor those who have either not reproduced, or simply replaced themselves in the population.” I was happy to hear that. As I too, worry a lot about over population and wonder why I don’t get a $4000 dollar tax break for not contributing to the problem:) I’m mostly kidding, I know how badly parents need money, but I do worry a lot about the subject.
And anyway, in a part of the country where I see a lot of “Get right or get left” or “PETA-people eating tasty animals” t-shirts and signs, it was amazing to share the home of a kind, old, vegetarian. And when asked, “What made you decide to open your home up to a bunch of strangers?” He just said, “Well, I couldn’t imagine having this big house all to myself.”