Summers were never complete without long walks. When my mom had the day off she would take me on a “walk around the world.” That’s what I called those long walks. We would see plenty of cows and horses in pastures along the borders of our town. I loved the cows. Mom and I would talk about anything and everything while we trekked all morning.
I remember my mom taking all three of us on long walks to gather cans on the side of the road. At home we would step on the cans to smash them. When we had several garbage bags full we would recycle them for cash. I’m sure it wasn’t much money but to three young kids it was like winning the lottery.
My mom had taught us how to weave our way through the neighborhoods toward busy 3500 South. We weaved east to catch a bus to the mall. We weaved west to peruse the library or get a free kiddie cone from Arctic Circle. A kitchen cupboard was full of cardboard circles redeemable for free kiddie cones. I remember so many summer days when we would either raid the cupboard, or dump our coins on my sister’s bed to see if we had enough for bus fair and a dollar movie at the mall.
When Heath was a kid he would walk to the 7-11 for Slurpees. The 7-11 was maybe a block away from where he lived. I had to walk at least a mile to get to civilization! Walking and summer treats were just how we grew up.
I have already walked with the kids to Mr. Pickles. On the hottest day ever! My other idea was to walk to 7-11 for Slurpees. Today was the perfect day. Sunny, breezy, and highs in the upper 70’s. I was looking forward to an adventure on the trail behind our house. The best benefit to the trail is we would only have to cross one major intersection. Unfortunately, the trail opening was closed.
The city sent a couple letters about construction on the trail. The latest letter made it sound like construction wouldn’t affect the trail just behind our house. I didn’t think it would affect the entrance we use. Huge piles of cement blocks and equipment were on the other side of the fence along with a couple porta potties. I didn’t know what to think. I hear people walking, biking, and running behind our house every morning. There were no workers in sight but I wasn’t going to hope the entrance was still open to walk past all that construction.
The kids decided to walk through the park instead. Halfway through I decided we picked the right way since we were shaded in the park. Walking on the street was a straighter shot but it was in full sun. We did have to cross the busy street three times at two lights each way. I hated it. It’s a seven lane road. Three lanes each direction with a protected left turn light for the lane in the middle. There was also construction in the right lane a few yards in front of the 7-11. I was afraid the sidewalk would be closed and the whole plan would be a bust. Luckily we were able to walk past all the men working with no problems at all.
I fulfilled the kids predictions by getting a Big Gulp of Diet Coke instead of a Slurpee. We all happily sipped away as we walked back, with the aid of three lights, to the park. Without saying a word Gavin walked toward one of the playgrounds. The other two decided that was a brilliant idea so we all stopped to play. The kids came up with some very creative games and imaginings for over an hour.
On the way home Parker asked me if I would create a bucket list if someone told me I was going to die soon. I told him it would depend. If I was old I wouldn’t. But if someone gave me a year to live from right now maybe I would come up with a bucket list. Then I told him that if we just live each day to its fullest it doesn’t matter when we die. We won’t have any regrets.
Gavin chimed in: In a couple weeks I will be upset that I didn’t live my summer to its fullest!
Me: Whose fault is that?
Gavin: Yours. You never took us anywhere!
Despite my son’s faulty short term memory, it’s been a great summer. I can cross off walking to 7-11 from my bucket list. I would love to do it again when the trail opens. The busy street did make me feel very nervous with my little ducklings. We still need to go on another fairy walk. It’s been a while since we have gone on that walk. Summer isn’t complete without fun walks.