For the past couple of years, I’ve tried to get in the habit of walking for exercise. I sometimes get on a roll, then something happens (I get malaria, visitors arrive, too much rain… which means too much mud, etc.) so I fizzle out. Two years ago, I bought walking shoes when I was home for a visit…. many of you have experienced the fact that simply buying the shoes does not accomplish the goal of walking!
Last year, when Ashlie was here, the two of us were pretty good about holding one another accountable to our morning walks! Honestly, if it hadn’t been for me knowing that Ashlie was waiting outside, walking shoes on, I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten my butt out of bed to go for a walk.
Over the past several months, with my walking partner (Ashlie) no longer here to push me, I have really struggled. I finally accepted the fact that I do not have the self discipline to get up early (I am not a morning person) to go walking. The middle of the day is out because I am so busy… plus it’s HOT! That leaves the evenings.
About a week ago, I decided to go for an evening walk. The big kids (minus Grace and Peter, who are away at boarding school) joined me! After a big rain earlier in the day, the roads were one big muddy mess! We didn’t care! We were going “on safari” together, enjoying each other’s company!
The kids were having a great time! They were pretending to be Superman (I figured this out when I heard Churchill say, “Previously on Smallville”, before attempting to jump over a big mud puddle!). They raced and laughed and told stories…. it was lots of fun!
Since that day, almost every evening around 5:00, a group of them hunt me down to ask if we’re going for a walk! It has really helped me to get on track with my exercising! Mandazi, our faithful watchdog, always goes with us. He chases off any dogs, chickens, donkeys, cows, motorcycles, bicycles or people who come into our path! He’s not overly aggressive…. he just makes sure everyone knows that he’s on the job!
One thing I find very interesting about our walks is the fact that Jenny (age 6 years) always wants to lag behind and bring up the rear. At first, it was a little bit irritating! I was constantly hollering, “Jenny, hurry up!” “Jenny, stay with us!” “Jenny, why are you always bringing up the rear?” Then, I remembered how Jenny came to us in the first place.
Jenny was three years old when her auntie took her out for a walk. The auntie told her, “Jenny, we are going to play a little game! You walk out in front! Walk as fast as you can without looking behind you! If you turn around, you lose the game!”
Jenny took off with great determination to win the game! She walked for miles without turning back! Eventually, an old man found her, walking in the dark, miles past the point where her auntie had most likely ducked off into the scenery…..
What a way to abandon a child! To trick her into walking out in front, while her trusted loved one lagged behind and finally just disappeared. Is it coincidence that Jenny always wants to bring up the rear when we go for our walks? Probably not.