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[at-l] A Very Special St. Patty's Day

Thruhikers starting their pilgrimages north today and hereafter will be 
greeted by something indefinably different in the air.  Whether it be a 
gentle breeze, a brisk wind, a cleansing gust or a blowing gale; whether from 
the north, south, east or west, they will be touched by that cheerful spirit, 
Four Winds, who arrives today for her appointment with destiny.  Thruhikers, 
embrace that breeze, let it tickle you into a smile as you start your way 
north.  Let its optimism buoy your spirits as you face those doubts at the 
enormity of the challenge that lay before you.  "May the Four Winds blow you 
safely home."  (Grateful Dead)

Yes, Four Winds has arrived at Springer. There to wait patiently for the 
arrival of her daughter, Redhead.  Had her flesh not succumbed to the ravages 
of cancer, today would have been the start of a wonderful mother-daughter 
thruhike we would all be celebrating now.  Though the mood is a bit more 
somber since Patty can only be there in spirit and Redhead has obligations to 
family that prevent her from thruhiking this year, let us still celebrate the 
dream of that hike.  Let us celebrate our good fortune in knowing Patty and 
the Redhead.  Let us celebrate this new spirit that will reside at Springer 
until Redhead begins her thruhike someday soon.  Let us celebrate the 
enormous heart and spirit of Trail Magic that resides within the Redhead, a 
heritage from her Mom, Patty.  Let us celebrate that Redhead is still young 
and will yet have many opportunities to hike the Trail.  Patty is waiting and 
that mother-daughter hike will surely succeed.  And let us celebrate that 
joyous family spirit that has been passed on to Redhead's children, most 
notably in the most beautiful of hiker babes, dear Cassy.

Take a moment and smile, dear listers, for there now resides an angel on 
Springer Mountain, who will send you on your way full of hope.  An angel with 
flaming red hair.  An angel named Patty, who arrived on St. Patty's Day!

A friend

"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one."

   --  John Lennon
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