About Lathornton

Author, Writer and Blogger: amoxiegirl.com

Sept. 17 – 23: Gijón to Aviles

Sept. 17 – 22: Gijón
When we detect some swelling in his foot, we realize Michael’s blisters are still an issue. We decide to take a longer break and bus to Gijón. One of Spain’s largest cities, it’s double the size of Santander and another urban beach/lively promenade town. If you have to rest, this seems like just the place. The Hotel Hernan Cortés is a bit older, but has the lovely patina of a time gone by and is in a great location. 

Not wanting to walk too far, we notice people sitting on a stone wall with drinks, waiting for a band to begin to play. It’s a lovely spot with a view of the harbor, but we opt for a table instead. Just when I’m wondering what I can do to cheer Michael up, the band’s van pulls up right in front of us:             

We have a good laugh at the band’s name and from then on, it seems as if, once again, The Camino Provides, bringing the amusement right to us, so we don’t have to walk far. First, there’s the Asturias Cheese Festival (the province we’re in) with plenty of tastes. Then, a street demonstration of gladiator techniques performed by men in costume. Impromptu street parades and the sound of bagpipes are everywhere. Sitting on a bench and people watching on the promenade is a favorite Spanish pastime.

On Sundays, the stores are closed, but the plaza is lively, full of friends and families gathering together. It’s baptism day at the church we’re sitting outside of and we watch as families, dressed in their finest, visit and take photos of their beautiful babies. 

We walk on the beach, hoping the salt water will help heal Michael’s foot. I bury his feet in the cool sand, telling him it’s an old Spanish tradition. I can’t determine if the water’s too cold, but the waves always decide for me, knocking me over and tossing me around until I’m all salty, sandy and happy. With eyes closed, we lay on the beach breathing in the salty air. In the distance, we hear a flamenco guitarist playing alongside the sound of the crashing waves. I come up with a new mantra: “Monta las olas” (Ride the waves).

We are able to take advantage of the Menu Del Dia served from 1 – 4 p.m., rather than waiting for dinner, which doesn’t start until 8 p.m. For anywhere from 12€ – 19€, it includes three courses, bread, water and a half bottle of wine, per person (usually you are charged for bread and water). My favorite is Fabada, a stew made of beans, Spanish sausage, potatoes and kale. Michael loves the Bacalao Viscaina, salted codfish stew cooked in tomatoes. While we pass so many homes with gardens each day, vegetables are rarely seen on menus, so we usually order a Salada Mixta, a big salad served with tuna. 

One of the more unique restaurants we dine in is called Toro. It’s an upscale Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurant. For 14€, you can choose from 100 small plates. You  check off your choices on a form and hand it to the waiter, with one caveat: you will be charged 3€ for every plate that you don’t finish! 

Michael has been wearing his boots a portion of each day and the insoles he bought have really helped. He says he’s ready to go again! On our last night, I make a toast: “Para sus ampollas!” (to your blisters!). If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have gotten to know beautiful Gijón. 

Sept. 23: Aviles – 18 miles
The long walk out of Gijón reminds me what a large city it really is. The route through an industrial area is is anything but scenic. The sounds of the pebbles crunching under our shoes and the cars on the nearby expressway have a certain rhythm that becomes the background to my thoughts.

The dilapidated stone buildings on the farm road we’re walking on don’t look inhabited, until I notice their TV antennas and electricity connections. In the middle of nowhere, we come upon a basket of broken tiles and markers The mountain of tiles has been created by Pilgrims, who have left a tribute to someone they are thinking of/praying for; very touching. 

Luckily, there’s a wide shoulder on the road we’re walking on and it finally leads us into town. It’s is so old and unattractive, until we turn the corner. The plaza is a registered historic district and the best preserved in the region. It looks like a movie set! 

The Hotel 40 Nudos is older and quite plain, with very clean rooms. It becomes one of our favorites when they serve us complimentary tapas with our wine- a treat for hungry pilgrims counting the minutes until 8 p.m. 

We dine at a pulperia and choose to have our octopus grilled, rather than boiled- it’s delicious! In the province of Galicia, the octopus is revered. Everything stops in order to celebrate everything octopus at their annual Pulperia Festival. We order a “jarra” (pitcher) of Galician wine served from a tap and realize we better forgo our usual toast and use two hands to pick up our bowls/glasses.

Sept. 13 – 16: Liendo to Santander

Sept. 13: Liendo- 15 miles
The day begins easily, walking along the coast and we take in the lovely views. We then turn inland, climbing higher and higher on a dirt road which never seems to end. Walking through a eucalyptus forest is our only distraction, with its magical feel and it’s wonderful scent.

At first glance, it looks as if Liendo isn’t much of a town; just a church and a few stores, until we turn the corner and view magnificent homes, one more impressive than the next. We slow down to admire their iron gates, red tiled roofs, patios and manicured gardens. Our hotel, Posada La Torre de La Quintana, a historic home from the 17th century, stands out the most and we are immediately charmed by its massive stone walls, wooden beamed ceilings and antique furnishings. In 2008, the home was turned into a rural inn, but we feel as if we are a guest in the home of an aristocratic family.

We dine with a couple from West Virginia and are entertained by their adventures of traveling the Camino via electric bicycle. When we mention we live near Austin, the husband says he knew it by my relaxed, chill vibe. Me?! Come to think of it, I haven’t thought about an Excel spreadsheet, planning or worrying since we’ve arrived in Spain. Es lo que es; is this the new Camino me? Michael seems.different too. Usually reserved, he greets everyone he passes with an “Hola” (Hello), including every dog (“Hola, Perro!”). After a lovely breakfast on the patio, it’s tIme to reluctantly say goodbye and continue on.

Sept. 14: San Miguel de Meruelo- 19 miles
With various options and unclear markings, it’s hard to discern the official route. We tread cautiously, not wanting to waste any steps. When our guidebook mentions to watch for drop offs along the rugged coast, especially in fog, we realize today will not be a relaxing walk, but at least it’s not foggy.

At first glance, it looks liked San Miguel de Meruelo isn’t much of a town. At second glance, it still isn’t. Hosteria Sol is an alburgue (pilgrim hostel) with small, clean rooms. The dining room is filled with books and jazz plays softly. A sign says “Por favor, a poco de paz- descanso,” (Please, some peace- rest!). A woman comes from the kitchen, welcomes us and gets us settled, but the owner is so grouchy. There is an article on the wall about him being an author, Maybe he has writer’s block?

There are limited restaurant choices in town, so we stay put for dinner. We dine with a couple from the Netherlands that are staying here too. We see fewer pilgrims than we did on the French route, but they are all very friendly.

Sept. 15 -16: Santander
As a pilgrim, it’s “Your Camino.” You can stay in a “donativo,” in a church on a floor mat for a donation, or a five star hotel. You can walk as much or as little as you’d like, completing your journey or continuing each year as vacation allows. You can travel on foot, bike or horseback. Buses, trains and taxis can move you along when you’d rather not. 

So, when Michael realizes his blisters were more serious than he’d thought, we decide to bus to Santander and give them time to heal during our rest day. Luckily, the Hotel Art Santander is located close to the street elevators and escalators and save us from walking up the steep city streets. It’s contemporary look and interesting art installations give it an edgy vibe.

Santander is one of those lucky cities with an urban beach in its center and a lively promenade alongside it. Built in 1904, the Mercado La Esperanza houses food stalls in its sprawling iron and glass Belle Époque building. What a wonderful way to grocery shop! I am mesmerized by the women fish mongers. With samurai-like knives and focused precision, they fillet fish as if it was an art form. When all three of them rapidly finish in unison, I start to clap and for just one moment, their intense countenances change to smiles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sept. 8 – 12: Guernica to Castro Urdiales

Sept. 8: Guernica- 17 miles
Today we walk in rural countryside through forests and alongside flowing streams. It’s very hilly, but the sound of the rushing water is soothing and a stop at the the Zenarruza monastery provides a cool, peaceful place to rest.

We are heading towards what we think is the hotel, but once again, there is no signage. It’s been a long walk through the town and we’re hot, tired and very grateful to have arrived at Hotel Gernika. The classic hotel has an air of old world elegance and air conditioning! After showering, we enjoy a glass of wine in their beautiful solarium and wonder how we will be able to handle U.S. prices for a glass of wine, when we return, after paying anywhere from 1.60 to 3 euros here (exchange rate to U.S. dollar is almost equal).

Guernica is considered the spiritual center of the Basque Country and was the site of the aerial bombings of its civilians in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War. In downtown Guernica, large black and white blowups of photos of the damaged city are front and center, serving as a reminder of the atrocities on that memorable day.

Sept. 9 – 10: Bilbao- 19 miles
From the city streets, we quickly find ourselves on an intense, narrow path through the woods. The ascents and descents are much more treacherous due to the slippery wet rocks and the mud. For miles, the smell of the eucalyptus trees is our only comfort and the only sound we can hear is our heavy breathing.

It wasn’t easy to find a mid price hotel in such a big city, so we splurge and stay at the Hotel Abando. Unlike all the other hotels to date, the staff hardly looks up when we arrive, is not very welcoming and is no help at all in finding us a laundromat. We are so happy to hear from our Danish friend, with an invitation to try a restaurant that has been recommended to him, we forget about our hotel experience. Our new mantra is “Es lo que es,”- it is what it is.

We spend most of our rest day at the Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Gehry, its cutting edge design also reflects in its modern art exhibits. The main exhibit entitled “Motion- Autos, Art, Architecture” celebrates forty of the most distinctive cars in relation to beauty, rarity and technical progress. My favorite part of the exhibit is a vision of the future of cities presented by a number of universities from across the world.


Sept. 11: Santurzi – 12-1/2 miles
The bad news: today’s walk is along a river, industrial areas and rundown towns. The good news: it’s all flat! Not having to worry about every step you take gives us more time to a relax and think.

As we enter Santurzi, the juxtaposition of the two sides of the city is startling. The old neighborhoods we’re walking through transcend into a couple of blocks of modern condos and lovely mansions before our eyes.

The UHR Palacio de Orio is magnificent, but we’re disappointed the rooms are rather plain. We take some time to explore its nooks and crannies and imagine it in its heyday.

Sept. 12: Castro Urdiales- 18-1/2 miles
The city streets soon lead to a walking/bike path. There’s not much to see, but we’re grateful it’s flat…for now. We follow the yellow arrows (the official Camino way markings) past a very unusual site; cows grazing on a vertical pasture so steep that it appears they are hanging on with their hooves. This keeps us entertained until we arrive on a boardwalk that follows along the Atlantic Ocean, the crashing waves lulling us into a walking rhythm. Then, it’s up 120 stone steps and then we’re looking down at the ocean.

We follow a shortcut to the road. Luckily, there’s little traffic and a small shoulder we can walk on, single file. The gas station we stop at does not sell water, but a kind gentleman hears our plight and insists we take his cold bottle of water. They say the Camino provides and today we are blessed with more than one example.

We’re all set to walk the short distance to our hotel. Our app says only one and a half miles, but it also says it will take 43 minutes. What?! We’re done! We stop at a bar, order two beers and ask the bartender to please call a taxi, while we sit outside and wait. A few minutes later, she runs out to tell us a bus will be arriving in three minutes right down then block that can take us. With stealth like precision, we dump the water out of our water bottles, fill them with beer and run for the bus.

It takes me a minute or two to realize that all the passengers at the front of the bus are discussing where our hotel is and where we should get off. We are told to exit, thank everyone and are escorted by a woman passenger, who insists on walking us to our destination, after her long shift at as a waitress. We part company, but not after hugs all around.

Castro Urdiales is a popular seaside resort on the Bay of Biscay. The Las Rocas Playa Hotel’s large windows frame the lovely white stucco, red tiled roofed homes that line the street to the beach, mostly second homes. The hotel’s tranquil ivory and beige color scheme reminds us that our walking for the day is almost done. Just a quick visit to the beach (with just enough time to get our legs wet), then we’re enjoying dinner in their dining room, looking out those big windows and wishing we could stay just a bit longer.
















Sept. 3 – 7: San Sebastián to Extebarria

Sept. 3-4: San Sebastián
It’s taken the usual 24 hours for me to get over the sudden panic that sets in when you don’t feel your jewelry on your hands or wrists, They’ve all been left home for safe keeping, along with nail polish and most of my makeup, It will take another day for me to settle into the “Camino me.”

San Sebastián is one of those cities blessed with a beach in its center, The Bay of Biscay, the lovely parks and the lively Old Town make it sparkle. The joy and exuberance of the locals overflows from the bars and restaurants into the streets, as families and friends gather, standing or sitting on steps, and children play quietly nearby. Nary a sweatsuit to be seen, there’s an air of sophistication in everyone’s dress, even down to the babies,

We choose to stay at the Hotel Distrito Oeste, since it’s closer to the Camino start and walking distance to the square. Located in a quiet neighborhood, it’s white, stark, minimalist style is relaxing. The staff is very friendly and accommodating, even taking the time to explain why the whole city is dressed in the colors of their favorite boat racing teams this weekend.

Sept. 5: Zarautz- 13.5 miles
One minute we are walking through a lovely neighborhood and all of a sudden we find ourselves on a single path in the woods going straight up! Every once in a while, the Bay of Biscay peeks out, but there’s only time for a quick glance, Our total focus is on navigating the ups and downs and the rocks and boulders. For what seems like hours, we are in a meditative state, only looking up to say “Buen Camino” (good walk) to other pilgrims as they pass by. Lunch is a much welcome respite and we enjoy dining with a pilgrim from Washington D.C.

Zarautz is a beach town and a surfing mecca in the Basque region. The Pension Tixki Polit is rather basic, but the staff overwhelms us when they agree to do our laundry, but will not accept payment. We settle on purchasing them cold Coca Colas and everyone is happy.

The hotel is located right on the Musika Plaza. Every town, regardless of size, has a plaza, which brings people together with food, drink and music. We are surprised the revelry has continued so late on a Monday night, until we’re told tomorrow is a holiday in celebration of the 500th anniversary of a famous voyage to the new world by an explorer of Basque origin.

Sept 6: Itziar- 12 miles
We breakfast with a young Danish man, who convinces us an app is better than the book we are relying on and kindly sets us up with a Camino travel app. We start the day on a walking path along the Atlantic Ocean, this time able to take in the incredible views and greet passersby with a smile and an “Hola” (hello/hi).

We head up, in and out of the woods, sometimes withj spectacular views of the ocean or verdant farmlands, whose squares of various colors of green beam in the sunlight. This is about the time I remember the saying we came up with on our last Camino- In Spain, what comes up must go up!

We share our joke with a couple from Ireland and find we are staying at the same hotel. With no sign outside, we cross our fingers and hope this first building at the beginning of town is our final destination. Turns out, it is the Hotel Kanala!

Again, though the rooms are rather plain, the lovely welcome we receive and the inviting bar and dining room make up for it. There’s nothing nearby, so we’re in for the night and dine with our new Irish friends.

We are surprised by the elegant meal, from the delicious amuse bouche we begin with to the end of the meal, where what looks like a small mint on a plate becomes a warm towel once the waiter pours a bit of hot water on it.

Sept. 7: Extebarria- 17 miles
The single path of moss covered rocks and the trees canopied above make it look like an enchanted forest. All day, it’s a gradual incline that just keeps inclining! The click of our hiking poles on the ground, an occasional rooster crow or a cow bell is all we hear.

When we ask a woman for directions to our hotel, she insists on walking us there, probably thinking these hot, tired peregrinos (pilgrims) need a break. We warmly thank her and come upon an incredible stone building in the countryside.

The Hotel Antsotegi was a 600 year old foundry, now renovated into a country inn. The massive stone walls, wooden beams and rustic furniture make you want to stay and relax there a while, but we had to be content with the festive dinner we shared with our new friends from Ireland and Denmark, who all happened to be staying there, too. Who knows if we’ll ever see each other again, but tonight, we’re a Camino family.

Walking the Walk, Again…

Photo Walking the WalkA favorite keepsake, a sign that shows the distance from Georgetown, Texas to Santiago, Spain- 4772 miles.

For thousands of years, pilgrims have traveled the ancient paths to the cathedral in Santiago, Spain, where the remains of St. James lay to rest. The Camino de Santiago de Compostela – St. James under a field of stars – evokes physical, spiritual and mystical qualities. 

Inspired by the 2011 movie “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen, we walked the Camino Frances, the most popular route that begins in France, in 2016 and 2018. 

Funny how, back in 2016, we didn’t understand why so many “crazy pilgrims” kept returning year after year. Now, here we are setting out to walk the Camino del Norte, along the northern coast. 

Where else could you find such simplicity, a peaceful rhythm to each day, the camaraderie of strangers and be given the opportunity to pray with your feet? 

A Curly World

Photo Curly World

Whether wild or demure, never underestimate the power of a curl. Little is known about this type of hair, that I, along with approximately only 15% of the Caucasian population seem to have been born with. As I get to know them more personally, those little ringlets are always surprising me when I least expect it, going about their merry way, with no clue they are a constant metaphor for life. 

While straight hair is lighter, due to its individual strands, curly hair moves as one unit and gets less tangled. When this force fiercely bands together, the coils and twists always get their way. I have finally realized when I want to part my hair on the right side and those stubborn spirals decide to undercut me and make it a left part day, it’s a subtle reminder to just go with the flow. 

But, this wasn’t always the case. During my entire teen years, with songs by the Beach Boys playing nonstop in my head and dreams of having long, straight hair like the girls they sang about, I persistently waged war against my hair. Curl Free, to straighten my hair, led to ironing it- luckily, I remembered to use a towel between my hair and the iron. I finally realized it was time to throw in that towel when setting my wet hair in juice cans overnight resulted in the words “Tropicana” to be imprinted across my dry hair. 

Securing those untamed locks in a bun professionally steered me through my business years. It was an outspoken hairdresser that finally convinced me to cut my hair short. With nothing more than a photo from Playboy magazine, he was able to counter my objection of not wanting to look like a boy. 

I naively thought I had won the battle. This outwardly well-groomed appearance helped to create the no nonsense persona I always wanted. But, just because the curls were chopped off, doesn’t mean they, and the personality traits that accompany them, weren’t still there. So, who was I? Was I the straight as an arrow me, that meant business, or the curly fun-loving and outgoing me?

COVID kept us all from haircuts and as my curls began to reappear, I somehow felt comfortable to welcome them back, not that I had much choice. This time though, it seemed these old friends were popping up at a time when I had decided that maybe the methodical Linda could coexist with my alter ego, Lola. 

According to Glamour magazine, curls are one of the biggest beauty trends for 2022. “Expect to see curls everywhere!” they reported. Whether wavy, curly or kinky, the three types of curly hair are known to be easier to care for. Flowing freely, they are smugly aware that, as their numbers increase, curly heads could single handedly transform the hair care industry, with blow dryers, hot rollers and curling irons going the way of the bubble hair dryers and bobby pins. There’s a curly hair movement out there and it won’t stop until it makes waves.

 Author’s Note:

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Life’s Souvenirs

Photo Souvenirs

How is it that a trinket, of little or no cost, and only meaningful to the beholder, can stir up such emotions?

Souvenir #1
Whenever I look at the price ticket I’ve saved all these years, I smile to think how my negotiating skills started to develop at a young age. It was all due to a $13 dress that I wore to my first dance on a Friday the 13th.

Smiling and confident, I wait for just the right moment to approach my mom. I introduce my case in a short concise presentation and finish by making my request known. Bargaining commenced, both sides cordial, but willfully strong as to their intended outcomes. When the dust settles, we shake on a mutually agreed upon resolution: the black velvet dress with the white lace collar would be my mine to wear to the dance… and also on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and every other upcoming holiday.

Souvenir #2
After the Camino in 2018, we travel to Finesterre- Latin for “the end of the earth.” I situate myself on a flat rock and sit cross legged with my eyes closed and my hands in prayer at my heart. I hear the sound of a flute. A young man has chosen this spot to play for tips. His melody is harmonizing with the sound of the waves and I experience such peace. For a moment, I feel as if I am outside my body and wonder if this is what practicing meditation correctly feels like. The word “peace” keeps coming to mind and I tell myself that I don’t want to forget this feeling when I go back to my busy life. Eyes now open, I feel energized, yet so serene.

As we head back to our hotel, I notice two older pilgrims walking toward us. The one that looks like Santa Claus – except he’s wearing sandals and shorts – stops in front of me and hands me something. I hesitate and shake my head no, but he insists and says “Yes, for you.” As he walks on, I look down to see what he has given me. It is a card with a lovely hand drawn picture of a dove that I’ve since framed. Across the bottom are the words “Peace, Paz.”

Souvenir #3
The shells that I keep on my dresser always remind me of the 100 steps to the beach we would count out loud, as we ran up and down them. It holds memories of the time my younger sister stood on a sand hill, and with hands on hips, declared she was going to be a nurse when she grew up, get married and she and her family were going to live in our summer home. She did and they did!

Sauntering down that same beach years later, the heart shaped rock my sister found and handed to me stirred me out of my daydream. As the ocean waves repeated the same, never-ending crashing sound around us, just as they had back then, it seemed that nothing had changed, yet everything was so different.

Hang on to your memories and your mementos, keep them close and, once in a while, let them remind you of a time in your life that’s passed, but is never really gone.

Author’s Note:
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Senior Living: Not For the Faint of Heart

Photo JC Birthday

She’s double booked herself again. Tomorrow’s day trip was her idea, so she shouldn’t miss it, but her hair appointment got rescheduled for the same day. She promised The Knockouts – her boxing partners – she wouldn’t skip a class, but now water aerobics is at the same time.

When you’re 92 years young with a busy schedule, it’s hard to fit everything into a day – especially when Happy Hours start at 4 p.m.! My mom is a wonder and a force to be reckoned with. Moving into a new senior residence has given her even more pep and vitality, something we didn’t even think was possible.

According to the International Council on Active Aging, in 2020 the number of people age 60 years and over passed the 1 billion mark for the first time ever. That relates to one in every seven people with a higher average disposable income and more time to enjoy life than previous generations.

Seniors are trending as the fastest growing demographic and sparking excitement as marketers rush to cater to this lucrative untapped market. There was a time when old age meant declining into inactivity. Now, these new customers don’t let age hold them back. Young at heart and in good physical health, their zest for life leads them to look for challenging experiences and embrace life to the fullest.

Mom recently returned from a trip to New York, St. Pete Beach and Disneyworld with my sister. October is already on the calendar for a family trip to Puerto Rico. Now, she’s focused on 2023 travel plans. She’s been in contact with a younger friend, while also helping a new friend train to be free of her walker. My guess is she’s grooming her to be her next cruise partner.

Every year on her birthday, we convince her to wear her birthday outfit: white dress, silver jewelry and, of course, silver birthday crown. She’s always said “When you’ve got it, flaunt it” and now is definitely no time to stop!

As the population matures around us, seniors bring with them a newfound determination to practice Carpe Diem – Latin for “seize the day.” They’ve demonstrated that older is now synonymous with wiser, optimism can benefit you as a lifestyle choice, and seizing the day can be accomplished with style, grace and swagger.

Author’s Note:
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Pencil Me In?

Photo Pencil Me In

I have the uncanny ability to tell you what I was doing on any given day, beginning as far back as 1969. This has less to do with my psychic abilities and more to do with the small month-at-a-glance calendars distributed for free each year by Hallmark. For years, appointments along with noteworthy occasions were documented neatly in those small squares. Once Hallmark no longer cooperated with my calendar dependency, I graduated to a Filofax, the epitome of personal organization.

Recently, one of our neighbors announced, after a vacation to New Mexico, they planned to relocate there. They quickly sold their home, car, RV, truck and most of their furniture to other neighbors and were on their way, mentioning they planned to “pencil things in” as they went along.

That stopped me in my tracks! You see, in all of my calendars nothing seems to appear in pencil. I am strictly a pen/permanent marker girl. If you pencil things in, you are, in fact, winging it and have the ability to change or even erase your plans. I seem to have been born without the “play it by ear” or “off the cuff” gene. Which brought me to thinking about the yellow stick that started it all: the pencil.

When Hyman Lipman invented the pencil with the built-in eraser in 1895, writers everywhere were eternally grateful, no longer having to carry around a stale baguette under their arm. Before Hyman’s invention, the baguette was known to be the most effective way to erase ink off a page.

The best graphite came from China. In order to promote the fact their pencils carried the best quality lead, Chinese pencil manufacturers started painting their pencils yellow, the color associated with royalty.

Pencils have made their mark on history. In 1800s England, stealing a pencil meant banishment to the penal colony for seven years. Once graphite was found to be the perfect coating for cannonballs, it became a precious commodity on the black market. Mining workers were forced to strip before heading home and consumers were hoodwinked into purchases of wooden sticks painted yellow with black tips. During World War II, rotary pencil sharpeners were banned in England and people were encouraged to use a knife, thought to be a less wasteful way to sharpen.

Famous authors have drawn on the simple pencil for inspiration. In a 1935 article in Esquire magazine, Ernest Hemingway acknowledged the pencil as a means of constantly and easily refining his work. Working in his father’s pencil factory as a young man, Henry David Thoreau was responsible for introducing the measurement for the hardness of pencil lead. Having calculated levels from numbers one to four, the number two pencil became the standard in the U.S..

A single pencil has enough graphite to draw a line 35 miles long or write 45,000 words. Even though I have since moved on to a calendar on my iPhone, perhaps I should try to sharpen my skills, introduce the pencil to my writing world and not worry about being so precise. Write or wrong, it may be pointless, but it’s worth a try.

Author’s Note:
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