Eric and I had finished lunch. The girls were still plugging away at their meal and there was no end in sight. Sometimes those kids take a small eternity to eat a meal. It's fine, often reminds Eric and me to slow down a bit, but sometimes it's just a long wait.
Yesterday after I finished eating I decided that it would be a good time for the dog's walk. Bumblebee is getting older and her walks are much less vigorous than they were a decade ago. Betty is the laziest creature on the planet and walks are basically our only way to combat her slow metabolism. Eric and the girls stayed home to finish lunch and I hit the road with a couple of leashed hounds.
I started out fast. I like to walk fast and feel like my body is being used. Bumblebee is the same, though she only has about a mile in her before her pace slows. Betty would prefer to snuggle on a human bed and never take another walk.
Winding quickly through our hilly neighborhood I could feel my blood pumping. The sound of the dog's plodding feet keeping time to their panting. It was quite lovely. We continued on, covering ground quickly. It is sometimes so rewarding to make quick progress. Often while walking with kids we meander, stopping to throw rocks into puddles or to puzzle over some mystery---which I love. Sometimes though it is great to just move.
After a bit I could sense Bumbelbee slowing down and turned back, not wanting to push her too far. We cut through a part of our neighborhood that I rarely visit. We passed by people working in their yards, cats giving the hounds the stink eye from front porches. Then there was an older man puttering about in his yard. He spotted the dogs and waved.
I am used to people stopping to chat with me about the hounds. I get it, they are cute. Also, I am so happy for the opportunity to talk about dog adoption (people often ask what breeder we used). This gentleman started off with,"Did you adopt those pups?" I answered in the affirmative as he crossed the street to pet the dogs. He asked a bit about the rescue we used and then settled in for a chat. The dogs were thankful for a rest, Betty just laid down on the sidewalk like a seal on the shore. The man offered the dogs a treat. This may sound strange for people who don't live in a smaller town, but is is pretty standard here in the West. Obviously I wouldn't go into his home or whatever, but a friendly sidewalk chat is pretty common. I have actually had people stop their cars just to hop out and pet the dogs. When you live in the least populated state in the country you take your opportunities to socialize.
I could tell this man had nowhere to be and just wanted to shoot the breeze (people still say that right?). So we stood on the street, well Betty was still laying there, and talked for a bit. He told me about his grown children, grandkids,his neighbors, their animals, animals he used to have. He asked questions about me and my life. I kept them polite and vague as I could hear Eric's wary stranger danger voice in my head. Then I bid the gentleman farewell and headed back home. The dogs were done for the day. When I returned home Elise was just finishing her lunch.