Epic PJC: An excerpt

English teacher and Peddie icon Patrick J. Clements has been responsible for leading almost two decades' worth of sophomore students on a cycling and camping journey through Amish country, Gettysburg and on to the nation's capital. This spring Peddie’s own PJC has hit the road on a solo epic journey. Beginning in his birthplace of Pensacola, Florida, Clements is following the Mississippi River up the center of the country. Below is an excerpt from his travel log about an unexpected trip into, of all places, Clementsville!

Solo on a bicycle, riding some back roads of the country, feeling literature and history and music in the land, talking to folks along the way.  — Patrick J. Clements

Heading east from Nashville with a slow disposition toward Berea, Kentucky, but no pressing goal, I passed Clementsville Road in deep rural Middle Tennessee, did the required u-turn, and went to see what I could see. A mile down a twisty road I passed a farmhouse with CLEMENTS welded into the driveway gates, so I knew there was not only a place but people to discover. 

One farm later an old man was riding his mower, and on his next row turn, I met Carrell Clements, and learned that his son is a surgeon, and that his people had been on this land for five or six generations, but if I really wanted to know about this I should talk to his first cousin Ray, in the red brick house down there past...  

So I drove on down the original Old Clementsville Road, met a young man mowing, Jake Clements (an ambitious young farmer who just bought back onto his farm some lost Clements land, and 67,000 chickens in his new chicken houses), who called his grandad Ray, whom I soon visited. 

Ray Clements and Corryne Smith Clements welcomed me into their home, and these retired teachers and farmers treated me like visiting long lost kin, sharing coffee, a dining room table freshly strewn with family papers to share, a trip out for supper, the offer of an unlimited stay and anytime to return. 

Lovely lovely beyond words, and proud of their children and grandchildren's success and civility, a couple more generations of folks in the AG business, and medicine. They also hinted of another destination on the way to Berea: "There's a Clementsville somewhere in Kentucky and I think they're Catholics." Between Clay County, Tennessee,  here and Berea, Kentucky? On my way. 

(Follow Pat's journey on Instagram and Twitter: @OnTheRoadPJC and #epicPJC)

P.S. I've included this Matthew Brady photograph of Andrew Jackson Clements, partly since his stock just fell about $20 this week (his brother was George Washington Clements).