Friday, June 28, 2013

The "Welcoming" party

The first time I walked for diabetes awareness I received more fanfare than I deserved. The walk began at the steps of Louisville's City Hall. I was given a framed certificate from the mayor.
When I had walked fifty miles I met the Governor of Kentucky on the steps of the State Capitol building. The local media where there for the hand shake.
I received a certificate in a frame.
At eighty miles I was scheduled to meet the Mayor of Lexington.
I walked that morning in a cold sleet that turned to hard rain. The rain did not stop until the middle of the day.
I met the Mayor of Lexington in a park by the City Hall.
I received a certificate.
Upon returning from the 160 mile round trip journey I was met for dinner by my family and the local director of the American Diabetes Association. He had coordinated the meetings, lodging and media.
We were promoting the ADA's annual Alert Week to draw people to free testing locations and events.
It seems I helped. Attendance was up.
His appreciation, meant more to me than any certificate.
Since then I have walked thousands of miles. Began and ended many walks.
It is about getting the word out to walk. The awareness to take charge, control and prevent diabetes.
A few days ago I reached another City Hall.
I was met there by dignitaries of some renown.
There, thankfully , was no fanfare. No certificate of achievement.
Their appreciation was just as satisfying as Governor, Mayor or Senator.
They know the devastations diabetes have wrought on their loved ones.
They appreciated the effort and gave the best reward...
I received a hug, from the heart, at Tampa's City Hall.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Siren of Tampa

Rolling the world along the walkways of Franklin Street toward Tampa City Hall, I locked eyes with a woman. She had ear-buds and was holding her phone on her hip.
I hadn't noticed she was singing to herself.
When I said "Good morning" to her, as I do with everyone, she took two abrupt steps to the side. She, now blocked my way, increased her volume and began singing to me. She finished her song and slowly marched in step with the melody that only she could hear. Using her arms and expressions of face and hands she poured herself into the song's finale.
Not missing a beat she sang to me, "I have a song for..." She motioned expressively with her arms toward the world. She marched in place, to her own rhythm, only breaking eye contact when I gave her an affirmative nod that I'd listen to her ode to the world.
Taking her phone from her belt, she scrolled for her song as she marched.
I am no musician, nor am I Ulysses, but this woman was painfully off pitch.
The lyrics were short.
The song was obviously her own..
I survived the quest...
We sailed away as she chanted,
" everybody's suffering".
Tampa's Siren's song.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Daily Event...

Back at the plaza in Spring Hill the girls were happy to see us, especially Nice (the dog. They told me that they knew we would be back, but expected to see us early in the morning,
We had passed into Tampa Metro the previous day.
Our goal met, they knew it was a matter of time before we came back to what has been our home during the past four months.
They joked with me about returning to the daily events of the plaza, to the Florida version of the popular song "Hotel California"..."you can check out, but you can never leave."
We all watched the sunset before the girls left the plaza for home.
As darkness fell over the sky I sat alone and watched a rhino-beatle stuck in the inside corner of the building. Over and over it would attempt to climb and fall on it's back then struggle to right itself.
Then I heard the squirrel who had gotten itself stuck inside the mansard roof overhang weeks ago to escape a hard rain. He barked a desperate call to me from a hole in the metal ceiling over my head.
It was only a matter of time...

Fortune Calls

I awoke from a restless sleep with the thought that I had something I had to do, someone I had to meet. It was 4 a.m. but I was up and ready. My thought was to make the commute into Downtown Tampa, park the van, walk to City Hall then walk back to the van before the streets became too hot. I quickly made coffee, gathered my things, got Nice (the dog) in the van and we were off to the heart of Tampa.
When I got just past where we had stopped at the church the previous day I could see I had made the right decision. There was a drawbridge that would have been very dangerous. Then turning toward downtown all the sidewalks were narrow. Many were under construction.
It was not long before I was lost in a tangle of one way streets that sent me into the narrow backstreets. I was glad to see the old neighborhoods that I could not have easily rolled the world thru. I found my way back to the expressway after routing "city hall,Tampa" on the GPS. When I exited the ramp into downtown I was behind a patrol car and decided to follow him. It was shift change and he happened to lead me to an affordable parking lot by the bus station. If I hadn't lost my way I would not have ended up behind the patrolmen who unknowingly guided me to the perfect spot.
I inflated the world and was ready to get started as the sun broke over the skyline. I walked over to the brick-paved street nearest to us. We arrived at the corner of Fortune, just as a woman in an electric wheelchair rolled to the same corner.
She asked what I was doing. I gave her a quick explanation. She said that she was diabetic. I shared some examples of people I know who have hardly been able to walk to their mailbox, who now can walk miles.
I think I made an impression on her. One that might motivate her to do a little everyday. Become free from her chair. At least she was happy and smiling when I walked and she rolled away.
Coincidences such as these make my life rich. My pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. At the end of this little journey. On the corner of Florida and Fortune with bricks glowing gold from the sun.
She was the person I awoke telling myself I had to see.

"I awoke from a dream.
To the heart of the city,
it bade me go.
Of coarse I listened.
It's streets pulsed with life,
that without the dream,
I would never know."

burning desire

We returned to the church with the van, where the youth pastor and the health and wellness counselor let us take shelter from the sun. The interviewer from the news had given us a ride to the van, after we had talked and gotten some footage of us walking the world by the road. There was a work truck on the lot, when we returned, and men preparing the parking area for blacktopping. One man had a gas-powered blower on wheels and was working piles of pebbles to the edges. Another used a two-wheeled-dolly and a sledge hammer to coax the concrete bumper blocks off into the grass. I was pretty sure if we stayed there, we would be in the way. Soon I would be surrounded by quick drying tar. I pulled the plug on the world and waited for it to slowly sag into an awkward pile of canvas.
Nice (the dog) and I were under the shade of the carport by the office door when a Postal delivery truck pulled in.
I haven't mentioned lately about Nice (the dog) and his search for a certain postal worker we met two years ago.
When we walked the Eastern coast of Florida we had met her on her daily delivery route in Jupiter Beach. Graciously she helped that night to leap-frog the van and world out of Jupiter. Jupiter Beach authorities were very strict about parking so we had to drive across town . Because I had to follow her to park for the night at her apartment complex, Nice rode with her in her pickup truck for a long while. With the logistics involved in getting the support van out of Jupiter the next morning he, again, rode with her while we conveyed the the van twelve miles ahead.
Since that day Nice has been a dog possessed.
Postal trucks or women with blonde hair driving a white Chevrolet pickup truck. Anywhere we have been, whether it was the coast of Oregon or the plains of Nebraska, Nice has been searching for her.
When the door of the postal truck at the church opened and a woman emerged with blonde hair Nice was again excited, then obviously let-down when she got back in the truck and drove away.
This happens all the time. So often that, I cannot deny the connection.
While waiting for the world to deflate I checked on Facebook and found that the object of Nice's affections will be on vacation until the end of the week. After all that Nice has gone through, I have been in contact with her to arrange Nice's moment in the sun, to see her again. Their reunion would have to wait a little longer. I loaded the World in the van and drove us back to Spring Hill where we have waited out the Spring season healing, to the loving arms of Nice's adopted mothers. Only an hour away by car we could have a cooler place to sleep. Four days of constant sweating, we had walked ten miles into Tampa. Technically we had reached our goal, but we had to wait a little longer to go to Jupiter and fulfill Nice's desire.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Heart of Tampa

We fulfilled another goal and found the heart of downtown Tampa.
More Later...

Monday, June 24, 2013


As the pavement quickly turned to an asphalt stove I received a call on my cell-phone. A Tampa reporter had heard of us and asked to come to us for an interview.
Needing to quickly get out of the sun, for the dog's sake, I looked across the road to the church. It had a welcome carport by the church office door. The reporter said she could be there in forty minutes so I asked her to meet me on the church grounds.
I crossed the road and rang the doorbell/speaker. I explained my self to the voice inside. She thanked me for letting her know why a man, his dog and a six foot world was outside.
There is always something around to reinforce faith, whatever label you place on it. Sometimes a look around is all it takes.
That's enough of that airy fairy mumbo' jumbo' outta' me for today.

A better example

We passed into Tampa-metro and by eleven o'clock we had walked seven miles. The pavements heated quickly and we found a shaded spot at the edge of a restaurant parking area. It was at the first major intersection in the county. The manager said we could stay there and let me lash the world to a palm tree. Then I called a man I had met a few miles prior who offered a ride. He arrived a few minutes later and drove us to the van.
When we returned to the shaded spot I discovered we were not alone. This shady area was where the local alcoholics would sit and drink after panhandling at the corner. They would "spaige" just enough for a six-pack of beer, or a small bottle of "fightin'oil" and sit under the trees, getting louder and more abrasive as the day progressed.
My newly found neighbors soon began to show the ugly side of alcoholism.
When they began throwing punches at each other I thought it better that I find another place to spend the night. A storm came rolling in, which gave me just the excuse I needed to fold the world in a bundle and drive to the next stoplight. There I found a quiet place to park. I would not have to worry about their drunken drama spilling onto my world or getting too close to Nice (the dog), who is is much less tolerant of a stinky drunk.
In this world of goals, I had said we were going to Tampa. We have reached another goal. The larger goal, reaching out for people to walk, as a means to prevent or control diabetes; is not so easily reached .
Tampa is a big place. If I stopped now I may not find a better example than the drunks and streetwalkers I found at its edge. I must go deeper...
Love yourself, go for a walk. Take a friend.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Full Moon Fever

It was a day where I felt like a magnet. Everyone I met, though only a few because of the extreme heat of the day, was diabetic or had lost a family member to the disease. I sat on a shaded bench when a woman came to ask if I was homeless, she wanted to help. She shared that her mother had been diabetic over forty years and had recently shocked her physician, who had to decrease her medications because she had changed to a health diet and lost weight. She didn't do it alone. Her daughter, the woman I was speaking with, helped her make the change.
Several men approached to ask what I was doing then walked away fighting back tears after thanking me for bringing attention to this worldwide trend. They had lost parents to diabetes.
There was the woman who brought us water, was diabetic, and had lost her mother to to the same disease. We were taking in some shade and because there was no place to pull off the sidewalk lined road she walked an eighth of a mile to get to us, thankful for the reminder to be active daily. She gave us a ride to fetch the van at the end of the hot day of walking.
I have spent the past months, while Nice (the dog) healed from his surgery, dredging up stories of my journeys. I forgot the heartache and pain I meet everyday in the people I talk to of their struggle and loss due to diabetes.
I walk so I won't suffer the same fate as my Mother and Grandmother, my Uncle and Brother-in-law, teachers and childhood friends.
I awoke at four a.m. soaked from sweat.
The largest full moon in recent history hung in the sky.
Just a few more miles to this journey's end. Then another fever will infect me. I will soon forget the hardships and step out again...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Out from the Cold

The first day of summer, predictably, was much different than the daily event at the plaza. After four months there, I knew when all the shopkeepers would arrive, what time the first patron would come to the bistro for his oatmeal with a side of prunes and coffee to wash down the one pill he took each morning. I knew what time the pair of Dragonflies would troll for prey above my head at the inside corner of the "L" shaped plaza. As the sun would rise over the parking lot, I dutifully put the blanket out for Nice (the dog) to bask in the morning rays. Our first morning out was filled with new faces, personalities and wildlife.
The first person we rolled by was a woman sitting on a street bench by her bicycle, two small bags of clothes, a bucket with a few window cleaning supplies and squeegee. When I asked her how she was doing, she happily told me she was presently pleasantly surprised, thanks to me. I was a welcome sight to her normal morning events.
A few blocks further down three men came out to talk. One of them told me he had once weighed 450 pounds. He had been told he was on the verge of diabetes and rather than loose body parts he decided to loose weight. His two friends joked with him about how big he had been but it was obvious they were proud and glad of his accomplishment. We posed for some pictures and parted with smiles.
In six miles, a few hours, I saw bees and flowers, primates in cages and a turtle taking the Pinellas Trail. He walked as if its was his own personal highway. Nice found deer and boar tracks crossing the path and I collected another feather for my cap. On our first day out from the air conditioned comfort and safety of the plaza we were rewarded with sights we had never seen, met more interesting people than my slow writing can describe and had a few moments where the sound of the trees rustling in the wind was louder than the drone of US19, the hum of street lights or rooftop compressors.
The first hot day of summer was filled with warmth. From the first smile to the last man who pulled up to tell me his appreciation for the message. From the many I met, in just one day, who told of changing their ways and loosing weight to stave off diabetes to the woman on a quest to get the world to say hello to one another ; I am glad to be out from the cold air conditioning into the hot summer air.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The first day

We had to stop walking when we were in Tarpon Springs. We left the plaza early and began again this morning as close to Zorba's Restaurant as we could. The last stop back in February. Parking is hard to find in the heart of Tarpon, so we parked by the library. We are heading South on old 19.
More later. It is time to walk .

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Last Day

Nice (the dog) went for his final examination at UF Small Animal Hospital and the doctor gave him a clear bill of health. His bones have healed/bonded very well. Caleb Hudson, his surgeon, showed me the images from after the operation compared to today. He said Nice has built as much bone as many dogs do at six months. Three months after the surgery, Nice still has good muscle mass and has gained ample weight to build back quickly. Nice is to eat less and exercise more, building back to "normal". That is good for both of us. Without further...pause, we can finish the walk to Tampa. It was Caleb's last day at UF, he was on his final rounds before his "going away party" to a large private hospital in Houston, Texas. It's as though our timing was perfect, to have Caleb at the top of his game. Not only a fine surgeon and lecturer, a wonderful man.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Big Day

In the morning we are going to Gainesville for Nice's last exam. If it all works out, we can finish the trip to Tampa. It is not very far and it is almost summer, instead of mid-winter, so we will be walking early in the morning, or late in the evening, spending the hottest part of the day under shade somewhere along the road. With Nice's new knees, also my collection of injuries, we will have to walk less per day. Of coarse, this depends on what the doctor says. As much as I might like to stay here at the plaza and pound out some great writing, my urge to finish this chapter is the stronger urge. I have made some progress on my own, but I have to admit to myself that I need help to bring it into form. At least I have decided, finally, to consider the project and have begun the work. I am receiving help with capturing the blog, for reference. I can stay here at the plaza as long as I want, but the closer I get to "The Big Day" my urge to walk off the pounds I have gained and complete the goals I made long before this chapter's twist... I will have more to say when I can blend experience of the past, on the road, with actions and insights of the present, on the road. It could all change tomorrow. It has before.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Gift

My Son has completed two semesters at school and today will work his second shift at his new job.
Yes. That is a little prideful tear.

Big Frank

Some people leave a lasting impression.
After taking a shower in Frank's house I went thru a box of his shoes. He was the type to wear one pair of shoes until they fell apart. The box was filled with new, unworn shoes he had collected from thrift stores. He had worn out his last pair. Big Frank's dying wish was that his friend take care of his old dog and his possessions after he passed. What his friend could not use, he was asked to find someone who could use them. Big Frank had been gone for some time. His friend had the house almost clear, except for the box of shoes. Big Frank's shoes were my size, though I can't take much with me, to honor his wishes I kept a pair and have walked many miles in Big Frank's shoes.
I think I need more input. Really... I am talking about Big Frank's shoes again...
Wednesday we go back up to Gainesville for Nice's final appointment. Hopefully the ex rays will show he is ready to get his walking papers.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Deer and the Headlights

I was 16 years old and a passenger in a car. Riding in the back seat with me was my friend who was about to start his first day at his dream job. We were far out a twisting country road and had car trouble. We had gotten a ride with two men and a woman. They sat in the front bench seat of the '70 Plymouth. The car had huge mag wheels in the rear and smaller than stock in the front. We hesitated to take the ride. My friend would have been late for work and we had to get to a telephone. Five minutes later the man driving took us head-on, in thick fog, in the wrong lane, with guardrails on both sides of a two lane bridge approach, under the front bumper of a garbage truck. We were going so fast, when I saw the headlights I only had time to hold my breath and close my eyes. My friend has not worked a job since, or remembered who I am. His cheek and forehead were crushed. My back was broken. Ex rays showed my injury had been within one degree of severing my spinal cord. (I am lately obsessed thinking about back injuries) I had my feet tucked under the seat which prevented me from going straight out the windshield, I hit the roof with the back of my head and shoulder. The bounce, is what almost severed my spine. My friend hit the window post, as he was leaning forward before impact. We prevented those in the front seat from flying out the window while we bounced around like balls in a pinball game. The driver had a broken nose and a cut on his knee. He was drunk and AWOL from the local military base.
Twenty five years later I drove that road for the first time since the accident. The same song that the driver of the Plymouth had blaring was playing on my car radio. I remember the song because he had turned the volume low enough to turn to me, yelling over the music, just before the crash to ask if I liked his car. I said "Yeah! You can slow down anytime!!" A few moments later I was looking down at the crash scene from above the fog bank having a long discussion with no one in particular about what this family member or that family member was going to think if I decided to stay up there. Out there. It was a long, timeless, calm discussion until I had a thought that made it urgent that I go back. Before I could think the word "back" I took the most pain filled breath of my life.
I digress.
At the moment in the song where we had impacted twenty five years earlier when I came over the bridge and slowed to look. On the beat , a deer jumped over the guardrails where the wreck happened. Like someone had synchronized the rhythms of the two moments.

I am not going to proofread this . I will surely delete it...

Friday, June 14, 2013


Some days I draw a blank. What do I write? What is there about what is happening now that I can then connect with some past experience? Which Can I mold together? What beautiful sight can I compare to this plazas parking lot? What shadows of the past can shelter me as the awning I have been staying under for months? Today, blank....

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Four months, reflections.

When we first arrived at the plaza I was maintaining a weight that I hadn't for twenty years. I liked the reflection of myself in the mirror. During these months I have looked at old pictures, years of me on my walks. I was surprised at how big I looked. I, vainly, could not believe that I had put myself in a situation where I would have my picture taken, or interviewed on video, being so overweight. As I scrolled forward through the years, the images became less embarrassing.
The pictures from the last year showed me the fruits of walking, I wasn't aghast at the man I saw. A smaller belly and more defined features were not altogether displeasing to my ego. I was headed in the right direction, toward a healthy weight. I felt great. Through walking and eating better I was beginning to like my reflection again. I like the man I saw in the plaza glass February, 13th.
Looking at myself today, on reflection, I am not happy with what I see. When I first came I couldn't walk, like I need to, because of the dog. I gained a few pounds but was holding steady. During the past several weeks I couldn't walk because of my own ailments. We have walked less in the past four months than anytime since Nice (the dog) was Nice (the puppy). I haven't been able to walk off, or resist, the four months of comfort food, birthday cupcakes and treats shared with my four legged companion. My reflection in the glass has added insult to injury. I have again become the fluffy fellow I once knew. The fellow I was embarrassed to see on film is looking back at me.

This will not do...
Now I remember one of the reasons I walk.
However embarrassed I am, I have to keep walking.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nice's morning adventure.

During our morning walk we turned from the road to a small wooded area bordered by a pond. Nice (the dog) led the way. First he kept with a clear pathway cut though the scrub trees left behind when the undeveloped land had been logged. Soon we were following animal trails around and through brush and vines. It felt good to get some distance from the loud highway, the trees buffered the roar and filtered the fumes. Nice (the dog) got to do what dogs do and flushed out a rabbit a few yards from the pond. I had to call him to attention, making him sit with two tugs of the leash and my special voice command, "Sit." We walked along the edge of the pond, then across a rugged field of weeds. There were large scallops in the ground left by the roots of large trees. He pranced as we zig-zagged through the tall grass. He stopped, so happy with where he was, rolled on his back and flopped around like a fish out of water. Then stopped and laid in the sun for a few moments before jumping to his feet. We weaved our way behind the few businesses at the edge of the woods and came out at the edge of the neighborhood that borders the far side of the large pond. Not finished walking, Nice (the dog) led us around the neighborhood to the last house on the left. The one with the lush thick grass, sweet smelling flowers and shade trees. There he laid down and waited for George, the owner of the corner property, who is usually outside. We stayed a few minutes to cool off but when I called for Nice to leave he turned his head to the house attentively. I watched Nice follow the sound of George's footsteps as he walked through his house to the front door. Just before the door opened Nice got to his feet and began to wag his tail to greet the old man. George smiled as Nice cooed his soft "hello!" Only then would Nice be led away. When we returned to the plaza he found, to his great joy, the girls had come to work. The rest of the day Nice was happier than I had seen him in months.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Talking to Myself

I have been battling myself to write. Some say I should record my stories by talking into a microphone. I ask myself, "Do I really want to be that guy who talks to himself out loud?" I do loose thousands of profound sounding lines, as I wobble along the highways and byways, pushing a worn canvas world. People might think I were crazy, if they saw me talking to thin air. It may be a chance I have to take. Writing takes so long. Forcing memories to come when I am sitting at a desk, truthfully, is not working too well. What rolls off my tongue with ease in conversation becomes bogged down when I attempt to write it out. Many of my tales are colorfully brought to mind through conversation with others, but when writing, the trail of thought is cast to the wind with the slightest distraction. Maybe when I put a tape recorder around my neck I may bypass the semantic windmill I battle; like Don Quixote, tossed to the side after being entangled in the blade's fabric with each valiant charge. To this point, my attempts have been unsuccessful against this gigantic foe. Talking to myself might be the solution to this "writer's block".

Saturday, June 8, 2013

If dogs could talk.

When we returned from our evening walk I unlocked the door, turned to let him inside. He laid down, looked sadly at the door then turned his head to the fading daylight on the horizon.

Putting it on the line.

After weeks of not being able to walk across the parking lot I have some excess energy. When I came here and knew I would have time to do something while Nice (the dog) recovered from knee surgery, I offered to help spruce up the plaza. It took three and a half months after my offer to paint the plaza, free of charge, before the moody property manager would bring me paint. During the passage of months I had realized my time would be better spent in other pursuits, like recalling my journeys and putting them down on lines of paper. Offering to paint, to pass the time, was another of my crafty means to keep myself from writing. As these things happen, he brought paint for the curbing and parking space lines when I could not do what I had offered to when I arrived in February. Unable to bend or kneel and finally getting into the writing, having the material only added to my frustration. Luckily it then rained all week, giving me time I needed to heal. Now the rain has ended for awhile and I have distraction from putting it on the line.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Fortunate Fall

My foot slipped off the wet curb as I was stepping up on the sidewalk, causing me to stumble and fall. Using the two weeks of Judo instruction from when I was twelve, I rolled to absorb the impact. The momentum sent me into the wood wrapped downspout as I was rolling to a stop on my side. I felt and heard a snap and pop in my lower back at the spot I have been having such trouble with. Somehow I had fallen at the perfect angle and force to make the adjustment the chiropractor couldn't. I have been twisted pinched and tightening for over a month, this perfect adjustment by a 2'\8' board did hurt, but might have been just what I needed. If I can keep from, slipping, falling, dragging a pack of beasts across a parking lot. It may have been quite the fortunate fall.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For the Record. Take one...

My grade school friend, Keith, whom I haven't seen in years, called me. A strange coincidence prompted him to contact me. He has a large collection of "vinyl" from his school years and pulled them out to share with his twins. He asked his eleven year old child to randomly choose a record from the twelve foot wide stack. The album he grabbed, Jeff Beck, Wired. The song he randomly picked to play, Come Dancing. My friend Keith had been inspired to purchase the record back when he was in school after we heard my brother play the memorable bass line at a high school concourse hallway concert assembly. The band my brother was in, World, played professionally, though the members were still in school. Pardon the expression, they rocked the hall. The chance pick by his child inspired Keith to contact me. We talked about the coincidental reminder, current events and childhood memories.

Keith and I sat next to each other in grade school. We wrote a desk top newsletter for awhile, back in the days of pencils and paper. We would entertain ourselves with fantastic stories and our grade school "spoofs" on the news of the world. We collected Hugh Haney cartoons from the local editorial page and used them in our weekly production. Our childhood collaborations are one of my the best memories of grade school.
We also spent time at each others houses, like friends do. One day I was at his house playing in the backyard, It had been raining. The hillside yard was wet and slippery. I was walking down toward the house on its stepped walkway. The nose of the steps were railroad ties and the wet wood was like glass under my shoes rubber soles.
Keith's family dog, Fluffy (the pink-nosed harlequin Great Dane) came bounding up the steps and playfully greeted me with a playful pounce, knocking me off my feet, driving my tailbone onto the slippery step. It hurt so bad I couldn't breath, call out or stand up. My spinal cord was bruised by the force of my weight and the giant Dane driving down on my spine. Recovering my ability to walk and lift any weight kept me out of school for weeks. Until I reminisced with Keith I had forgotten how badly I was hurt. This Fluffy memory of my childhood was not a fond and fluffy one, but it has bearing... In the end.
I have been writing about events in my life that brought me to walk the world. Strange how everything is connected. A lifetime of spinal injuries has been a major factor. If I trace the reasons to their beginnings, for the record, I should be thankful to Fluffy ( the pink-nosed harlequin Great Dane) for his help.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

For the Record

I received a call from two old friends last night. One had directly helped with my walks. The other I had seen only once since we were in high school. I have been struggling with how to fashion my tale, so I have been writing down my history of the world from day-one. I had spent the day reliving my past and had reflected how both my friends had, in their way, influenced my walking the world. While plucking stories from days gone by I was trying to capture on paper with pen the line of events, acquaintances and adventures which brought me to be here now. I realized some things directly influenced my journey that did not occur during any of my walks. Recalling a timeline seems simple enough, write out the record of events and be done with it. But those dry happenings ride a stream of feelings and other baggage I had tossed overboard along the way, or added as thread to the fabric of my sails. I asked my friends what I should do to connect my stories to the cause. Sorting through my collection of thoughts, like scraps of cloth and joining them with various colorful threads into a diabetes-themed quilt over a batting of people, places, joy, pain, sunshine and shelter is a challenging patchwork to muster. Talking with my friends gave me some ideas on how I might bring the boat ashore, bind the hem with stitches I had not considered, make a plain blanket into tapestry.

For the record, writing is not so easy sometimes.

Monday, June 3, 2013

On the mend

I have little to say about doing as little as I can while I heal. I can stand without pain where I could not a few days ago. I still can t walk to the corner without having to stop and turn back. I am getting better,slowly.
I am "on the mend"

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Turning my back

Nice (the dog) had healed enough to begin longer daily walks, then I suddenly couldn't walk at all. I have had back pain since I was a child, but never has it been so severe; where my muscles lock up, from my hip to my toes and my leg goes numb. My challenge is to find some positive to being a guy advocating walking who can not walk to the corner. If I keep with the "airy fairy, pixie dust" philosophy of "everything happens for a reason"; my inability, hopefully temporary, to walk any distance should be a welcome opportunity. Nice will have more time for his tendons and muscles to heal while I use this time to recover some feeling... Unbury years of feelings and reflect on my past, write on paper my perspective on how a schoolyard toy has changed my "world" for the better. Life has handed me a package I may not want to open. It seems there is no return delivery, this parcel I must accept.
For years I have been turning my back from the urgings of friends and family to write of where I have been and what I think I have learned. My doubt overrides encouragement. Unsure that my musings of a thousand vignettes will inspire anyone to take the first step after reading and go walking. That I can blend all the varied ingredients, make a soup that is palatable, even enjoyable and simmer it down to something good. That sharing my stumbles over stepping stones, seeing signs that I sometimes read, crossing bridges and great divides; will warrant anyone turning a page. I should not turn my back to a thousand voices and put into words how I came to love myself by walking.
They all can't be wrong.
I have taken the first steps, I need to keep the ball rolling, while I stay off my feet and keep moving forward.