My parents are serial walkers. They don’t just take simple strolls around the block. They take WALKS. LONG WALKS. I appreciate that they do this and that they made me take LONG WALKS with them.
Yesterday morning, I received the following in an email from my dad. It made me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.
Julia and I attempt to take a fairly long walk almost everyday. Most of the time we just walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes, we drive to O’Hara and walk around the beautiful little park and sometimes we go to North Park and sometimes go to Hartwood Acres. We often go the Highland Park water reservoir and do the one mile walk around the lake. We use to walk the two miles from the apartment there and back which makes the total walk 5 miles long. Now, we don’t do that since we are older. We drive and park on the hill behind the lake. This day we had our walk around the lake and were walking up the lane to the car. We approached a new black Chevy and a beautiful young smiling girl, maybe 25 years old, was sitting in the driver’s seat. As we got closer she said, “When I grow up I want to be exactly like you two!” I said, “My goodness, you want to be old and ugly?” She said, “No, I want to be old and beautiful!” So, what could I say? I said, “Thank you. You are already half way there. You are very beautiful and, I think, being old is a long way in the future for you.” Julia and I got into our car and drove away feeling much better about ourselves and a lot better about all people in general.
I can not forget that encounter at the lake and it confirms what Tom Hanks said in the movie, Forrest Gump: “My momma always said, Life was like a box of chocolates. You, never know what your gonna get.” I say most of the time the candy is good and sometimes, judging from some of the great people Julia and I have met just by chance, the candy is delicious.
No, not those funnels. Rather the type that invaded our house last Tuesday. Hard, plastic, evil funnels attached to cute, cuddly puppies. Better known as Elizabethan collars, they are really torture devices for both master and pet; they bruise legs, mark up walls, and have turned both the dogs and monkeys into intolerant, impatient, crabby, crazy creatures. When in her kennel, Jasmine now barks incessantly, her high pitched, “I need attention and now” bark. Unless, she is tired or asleep. Sweet, lovable, “all I want to be is a good dog” Kona has converted into an instigator. The problem? They are prohibited from the rough and tumble play that only canine siblings can appreciate.
People suggested alternatives. They mean well, but anything less would be toast and rendered useless as we attempted to stop a frustrated dog from ripping open a suture. Consider that within the first twenty-four hours, we had reinforced the evil funnels with generous amounts of duct tape.
So we walk to manage the chaos. Walking is both good mental and physical exercise. My parents walk for hours at a time. They have walked all over the world for more than fifty years. I have meant to ask what their most interesting walk has been. Christian tugs the girls along on separate jaunts around our neighborhood each morning. Our evening routine once again involves a walk. We reconnect, which is important. It makes us better parents. Even time away from the pups includes walking; our tour of national parks and monuments this summer will involve hiking.
Kona and Jasmine are now genetic cul-de-sacs. Ken says one day they will thank us for this. But not anytime in the immediate future.