Southern Scribe
     our culture of storytelling


Porch Tales    



     Confessions of a Street Walker

     By Dickie Anderson



My day starts with a morning walk. I try and make it a part of my daily routine and truly savor the time with my husband and two small dogs.  It is more then the exercise we both know we need. It is a piece of time that is precious to us. We walk out of the house, leaving our busy lives behind and take the time to enjoy the beauty of the island and truly catch up with what is going on in our lives. Our talk can be of politics, our busy children, our schedule for the day, the grocery list or some major decision we are mulling over. Uninterrupted by phone or television we are actually able to finish complete sentences.  

Our two Yorkshire Terriers count on this daily outing and trot down the street leading the way. We meet other walkers sometimes with dogs and sometimes not. We pass and greet single, determined walkers or pairs of friends enjoying the morning and shared exercise. We pass Bob and his borrowed dog jogging at a steady pace. We pass an older gentlemen that is being more walked by his leash pulling dog then vice versa. We worry for his safety. As we walk, we pass a gallery of dogs all sizes and dispositions all looking at us and wagging their tails in greeting, but not straying from their yard.  We are a neighborhood of invisible fences and the well-mannered group that greets us each morning is testimony to their effectiveness. My small dogs gloat a bit as we progress down the road. They strut, all six pounds each, with the full-blown confidence of one on the outside as they pass each captive.  

Our walks are not all pleasure. There is considerable work to be done.  We inspect all houses under construction and take our responsibility as unofficial construction observation supervisors very seriously. We have walked through most of the homes under construction in our neighborhood in the last few years. We wander through the chaos of an unfinished house and try and figure out which room is which and ponder the views from each of the windows taking shape. We watch with curiosity as progress is made and then as completion approaches the final frosting on the cake - green frosting - new sod in carpet like squares. Weeks later it is difficult to remember the skeleton of the first raw framing so many months ago.  

Another morning walk activity is trash detail.  We pick up trash along the way. Usually it is fast food wrappers and cups. What an interesting and unusual marketing survey we can make by inspecting the daily road trash - you can tell what the most popular or most convenient fast food options are. More often than not, the litter is beer cans left by the construction workers as they leave to go home. Instead of the trail of crumbs left by Hansel and Gretel, the trail out of our neighborhood is that of beer cans.  

Our walks are a treasured part of our daily schedule. It is a good way to start the day.

Dickie is a free-lance writer living on Amelia Island, Florida. Born in Seattle, Washington raised in Chicago and schooled in New York, Dickie ended up in Iowa City, Iowa where she was responsible for the marketing of the men's and women's athletic programs at the University of Iowa. She started her own marketing and consulting business and moved to Amelia Island. Following her dream to write she has finished her first book and is working on her second. Her quirky look at mid-life and living on a barrier island off Northern Florida resulted in her weekly column, From the Porch, for the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Florida's daily newspaper.  Learn more about Dickie and her upcoming book at . 

2002, Dickie Anderson, All Rights Reserved
First published Florida Times-Union  12/12/01