I've been walking for the last while every night with our neighbor Sandra. It's a good way to get exercise in without going far from home. She saw me occasionally when I was walking in our cul-de-sac and asked whether we could go together; I go around 7 times if I want what I consider a complete exercise "routine"--and round the same cul-de-sac that many times on your own can be quite routine, though I used the time on my own to pray and ponder and plan. It's probably shorter than we walk on the Centennial Trail, where we were trying to go as a family whenever the weather would encourage us, but the Centennial Trail is much flatter and straighter and doesn't have all the driveways and mailboxes (and garbage and recycling bins) to contend with, so in a way it's a whole different outing. (And we never have bicyclists speeding by, either! Ha! ) So nightly she calls me, or I call her, and we get going. Sometimes her daughter has come with us, and more often Tim comes, sometimes using his scooter, and often going back into the house to pick up or drop off something.
Now, with Sandra, it's a good time to reflect and talk; I get some ideas and share some with her, and things come back from the day as I review it that I otherwise would have forgotten. She has a 10-year-old girl who goes to public school, so I get a little bit of a window into what would be going on in Tim's life were he there too--such as the WASL testing that they just finished. It's amazing how much we have to talk about even though our lives are so much different! She's a lawyer, doesn't like her job but would probably never consider quitting. And I know from her daughter's playtimes at our house, she at 7 years old had already assumed that she will be a working mother someday as well. In spite of our differences, we have enough in common that we can discuss and appreciate each other's points of view.
We discuss parenting, grandparents, life expectancies, birthdays, illnesses, doctors, cures, school buses, vacations, college, property values, church (she goes to a little old church here in Marysville, we go to a little old church in Granite Falls), friends, growing pains, exercise, weather...it's amazing just how much there is for discussion. I'm thankful to have her to go walking with; she gets me to go when I otherwise wouldn't. We've only missed one night, when both of us were too exhausted to consider it. I never know in advance what we'll discuss, it's sort of serendipitous. That's part of the fun of it! And then I come in, and Gary will ask something like, "Is she enjoying her new car?" Well, I never thought to ask it; there were too many more interesting topics. I guess he'll have to go walking with her husband some day, and when he comes back in, I'll ask him, "What color shirt was he wearing?" Thing is, Gary's more observant and will probably be able to tell me, and he'll miss the whole intended jab.