George and I put in a
horrific fourteen-mile day today. We had to climb Crocker Mountain after having climbed
Bigelow Mountain (Avery Peak) two days ago. We were tired, and still had several miles to
go on a dirt road this afternoon when a man gave us a lift. He had passed us earlier on
the trail and had gone on ahead to retrieve his car and pick up his girlfriend. After
having some food, he had decided to come back and see if we were still walking towards
town. When he found us he said, "Once, when I was hiking with my son, someone gave me
a lift and I thought you guys would like one too."
I answered, "Oh, what a
wonderful and thoughtful thing to do. You bet we'd like that!"
His girlfriend then yelled out,
"I know you! I recognize that voice! You're Jacques d'Amboise! I used to work
backstage at NDI about thirteen years ago," she explained. So with that, we all piled
into the car and drove to Stratton Village, Maine, the nearest town.
The couple let us off at the White
Wolf Restaurant and Motel. On checking in, we learned that the woman who owns the
establishment made costumes for one of our events thirteen years ago. We also found out
that the bartender, Sarah, had been one of the children dancing in that show.
The next morning, while buying
more trail food at a local grocery store, a woman at the check-out counter recognized me.
She said that two of her children had been in our residency program in Maine, and that
probably half of the town had been touched by NDI. Some of the schools we had taught in
years ago (as far back as1987) have continued! There are still existing NDI programs in
the Stratton, Maine area fostered by new teachers and alumni.
By the time we left to get back on
the trail, George and I felt like we had stopped and celebrated with family.