I waited with anticipation for him to come. And then I heard it. The clipped sound of mules hooves beating along the road. He couldn’t be more than a block away. The rattling and creaking of the old wagon was a sound familiar only to those from times long past.
He appeared from around the bend and it was a historic sight. A large yellow wagon with two huge mules pulling his load. And at the top of the perch sat a 78 year old man, Gene Glasscock, a silent preacher of sorts, with long white hair and a beard to match. If you didn’t know better, you might of thought him to be Santa Clause trotting down the road, and after the interview I became more suspicious that it might just be true, but instead of reindeer he drove a team of two mules, Katie and Kitty. They weighed in at a ton and a half. He was a man that travelled the continents not in search of contributions, which he would refuse to take, but to help people.
In Arkansas, he met a troubled boy of 14 that had a grade 2 education. He stayed for months to teach the boy math and english and in time his education level was where it should be for a boy of his age. Gene proudly shows off the harness rack that the young man built for him, who now stands as a successful machinist. They are friends to this day.
Gene rode over 3 years and 20,000 plus miles visiting this countries 48 state capitols and his latest goal was to ride from the East coast to the West with the last stop being at the most southern tip of California, just down from the Silver Strand of Coronado. He rides in search of souls who need his help!
I couldn’t wait to ask my questions. I was not prepared for his answers.
I asked Gene about who he stays with on his trips.
” Oh all sorts of people from all walks of life. I’ve stayed with Senators and I’ve stayed with outlaws. Only difference is outlaws tell you the truth,” And then he smiled.
If you had a million dollars what would you do with it I asked. ” I feel sorry for people who have a lot of money,” he said,” because they are always worried about losing it. I have no desire for it. People with a lot of money loose perspective”.
I asked him what he thought was wrong with the world today.
“Lack of a relationship with God. We as a nation, we need to come back to God.”
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?
Gene took a long time in answering.”Well, that would be with Freddie my horse. We made it to Ecuador and then he got colic. He fell over and repeatedly kept hitting his head on the ground, wreathing in pain as he thrashed about so I forced his head on my lap and held him tight till he died.” Gene spoke slowly. His voice barely a whisper, and we stayed silent for a while.
He has made it through a barrage of trials on his journey. West Nile virus put him in the hospital for a month. On another trip he stopped by to visit a friend who was ill and stayed for two months until his passing. He had a surprise open heart surgery while traveling through Tucson and then lost his dog Bug to a car accident after someone broke into his wagon, and all the while you hear no complaints from Gene.
I asked him how he wants to be remembered. “As a servant of The Lord,” he said.
And at 79 he is getting married. “Remember, it’s never to late to find the love of your life.” So says his fiance Noqal, who holds two degrees in both Forestry and Psychology. She suggests to “Stay open and mindful of the leadings of God.”
What is the secret of a happy life Gene?
“Freedom! It’s the most important thing.”
It was an honor to meet Gene and travel that last mile in his wagon with 70 other riders on horseback making the last stretch with him to the Pacific ocean. I think he could be Santa Claus, but instead of giving gifts of monetary value, he gives gifts of wisdom, patients and love.
And if your life was a motion picture, what should the title be?
“The Drifting Missionary” and then he laughed for the first time.
I asked Gene if there was anything he would like to say to the readers in
“Love thy neighbor as yourself. Our love for other people needs to really show, because they need it and so do you!”