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Leisure and Shopping01 Jul 2008 10:26 am

This day is one rainy bike story sandwiched between two dog stories. Let’s start with the happy dog story.

Happy Dog Story

My morning dog walk takes me to the bakery to buy a pecan-topped sticky bun for Phase 2 breakfast. Apparently I wasn’t satisfied with a bowl of cereal topped with perfectly good and healthy Farmer’s Market berries bought and biked yesterday.

As I unhitch my dog from the parking meter a medium-size brown dog runs up to me wagging his tail. No leash and the closest humans are a dad and his son on bikes nearby on the sidewalk. I look at the boy and he says, “It’s not our dog, he followed us.” “From where?” I ask? His vague answer was polite but unhelpful, so I start looking at the dog’s tags and one has two phone numbers on it. I also loop the handle end of my dog’s leash around it’s neck so he doesn’t bail out on me. She’s still wagging her tail. I call the first number while maneuvering two dogs, a cell phone, and my neglected sticky bun. Voice mail, I leave a message. Paydirt on call number two: could be a boy or a girl, sounds young, clearly sleepy at this ungodly hour of 9 AM. I tell him/her where I am and the response sounds more female, “I’ll be there in two minutes.” Well, a bit longer than that but still soon a Chevy Blazer wheels around the corner and a young woman in glasses jumps out and comes over, clearly happy to see her dog. She thanks me, I unloop the leash, the dog is a girl, and it’s over in a few minutes as she drives away with the dog in the Blazer.

Nancy found the cell phone yesterday only one half block away and reunited it with its owner. We’re on a roll. We’re certainly getting connected by walking and cycling.

Keep reading, please. This is going somewhere.

Rainy Days and Sundays Always Get Me Wet

Wardrobe crisis mixed with transportation dilemma: how to get to a recital on the Northwestern campus and still look decent if the threatened rain stops threatening and begins doing. Which it eventually does but misses me, at least before the recital.

It will be the bike with grey jeans and a nice summer shirt. Grey will hide any bike chain grease even with pantleg elastic straps. The shirt will dry fast and still look good because it has a pattern.

It works for me because I leave earlier than my wife. She walks into the recital later, dripping wet.

The cello recital by our friend’s daughter is amazing. She is a talented and poised young woman. The setting in the Alice Millar Chapel is stunning. The reception afterwards is a chance to catch up with her parents and mutual friends.

Their older daughter shows slides on MacBook of her Ball State 3-month program earlier this year in south and Southeast Asia, working with NGOs on community development and tsunami reconstruction. Wealth and poverty are colliding in Mumbai. Why can’t more Americans open themselves up to the rest of the world?

We’re too busy being busy, indulging ourselves and driving around, I guess.

After the recital and a real trip to Whole Paycheck because she brought the trailer, we head home with three heavy bags of groceries.

It starts to rain as soon as we leave the store. 8 mph pulling groceries and we drag out the rain experience. A car waves us through an intersection, very nice of them. Are they feeling sorry for the little kid who might be in that trailer?

Or our groceries?

Do we like rain or are we victims of circumstance…or of our own trying to prove a point? Forget the victim stuff. Cars make you assume comfort.

All’s well, the groceries are fine, we’re wet, and the rain stops after we’re home.

Of course.

Take the dog for a walk. Next story.

Sad Dog Story

Not my dog, a neighbor’s dog.

Walking my dog, I run into a neighbor one street away and stop to talk. He tells me that his dog, a 14-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, had died about three weeks ago. I’m sorry to hear this. I and the local dog community had been following the dog’s declining health for a while and his owner’s efforts to make its life bearable. You just get attached to these critters. We trade stories about our pets, those who have declined and died and left us with an empty space in our lives and emotions

He also asks if I belong to the local bike club, which I do not, but his question is centered more on how he can ride more. For him, it’s been a big production to get the bike out and ready.

I tell him just to do it and that the more he does it, the more the bike will be ready. It takes time to fine-tune your ride even for leisure riding. I invite him over to get an idea of what our riding readiness involves.

Community, again

When you are part of a community, you share things. Walking is part of creating a community.

Do you want to live in isolation?

Drive.

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