A Walk in the Park

These Sunday morning trips to get the newspaper are becoming mini-odysseys. The lack of loaded paper racks and nearby open stores force me to walk a goodly distance to sang the latest want ads.

That's okay. It's good exercise and gives me time to reflect.

The drawback is that this morning is a lot cooler than it was yesterday. It's currently 39° F (just under 4° C, for you European readers). Not 24 hours ago, the temperature was nearly twice that*. Still, I threw on a jacket and headed out before I caould talk myself out of it.

On the way to the nearest convenience store (at least a mile walk) I passed by Anderson Baptist Church. I could hear the music all the way up the block. They had apparently gotten an early start on the day's worship service. There are several churches near Anderson that I didn't hear a peep out of. I don't know whether that was because they hadn't gotten in yet or they're just more sedate. The decibel level and the beat of the music also told me that Anderson apparently has a majority black congregation. How do I know this? I've heard black Gospel music all my life. I can pick it out anywhere.

Moving on, I passed by an absolutely gigantic Tudor-style mansion. We've passed it many times on our way from various churches to the Day Center in the mornings, but this time I had an opportunity to stop and get a good eyeful of the place. I think it's even bigger than the Day Center. Our old house in Northwest Greensboro would fit easily within its walls, possibly even within its living room. As I stood taking in the view from the sidewalk (nudge!) I easily imagined an owner of the home, maybe a tenured professor at one of the local colleges; an avuncular fellow with hair graying at the temples, wearing a tweed jacket with the patches on the elbows and clenching a pipe stem between his teeth. "Morning," he'd say, appearing at the door. You're the fellow who writes the blog, aren't you? C'mon in and have some coffee and let's see if we can't find you a job somewhere."

Then I woke up. It's 2006, for Pete's sake. Time to shake the Leave It To Beaver reveries and move on. Besides, there are some who would consider me...out of place in this neighborhood. Bes to keep moving.

Y'know, it's a sad commentary on my life that I imagined someone else at the door of that house and not myself. Maybe I'm just getting used to not having anything of my own.

A few more minutes' walk brought me to the convenience store. I picked up a Sunday paper and heard a song with a disco beat coming over the store speakers. Unfortunately, it wasn't loud enough for me to pick up from where I was standing, but by the time I'd manuevered myself under the speaker, the song had gone off. Shrugging my shoulders, I headed for the counter to pay for my paper and saw tickets for the new North Carolina Lottery. I hadn't formally played yet in that I hadn't yet spent any money on it, although I have played. Last week, on my way to an interview, I found eight unscratched tickets on the ground that someone must have dropped running for the bus. One of them won $2.00. A piddling amount, but not a bad profit insofar as I had won with a free ticket. Today, however, I didn't win. Que sera sera; I only spent $2.00 for two tickets and got another two tickets with the winning $2.00 ticket I had. 1/3 of the 2 bucks I spent will be going toward educational purposes, so all in all, it wasn't a bad thing.

Leaving the store, I decided to head back the way I came instead of taking a circuituous route. It had gotten a little quieter in Fisher Park as I moved through it. Off in the near distance, I heard the machine-gun staccato of a woodpecker drilling for his breakfast. I tried to get a look at him, but couldn't pinpoint where the sound came from. I passed by the Professor's House again*, getting another look at it. I didn't linger as long this time, however, although I did try to imagine walking in that front door. Without subsequently sporting a shiny new pair of handcuffs, that is. Or carrying a mop and pail.

My attention was distracted by a squirrel scurrying across the street to avoid an oncoming car. Yes, Greensboro has no shortage of squirrels, but this one was carrying something in its mouth. I couldn't tell what it was, but I could tell it wasn't a nut. I couldn't get a good look as the squirrel kept in the move and scampered up the nearest tree, no doubt ensuring that my sudden attention to his business wouldn't interfere with his own.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something dodge another car and blur up a set of steps not far away. A few paces brought me to the place where I could see what it was. A gorgeous black and white cat had parked herself under a small bush. She seemed friendly and even approached when I called her, but she never came near enough to allow me to scratch her behind the ears. After a moment, she bounded off in the direction of a nearby house, and I continued on.

Approaching the home stretch, I saw that Anderson Baptist had now grown quiet, no doubt having moved into the sermon portion of their service, but churchgoers were beginning to arrive in force at First Presbyterian, one of the city's largest and most distinctive churches, being built in a gothic style. In fact, for many years, I assumed it was a Catholic cathedral, as it shares many of the same design features.

Mama and Nessie had left for church by the time I got back to the Day Center, and the place has grown a bit quiet. Maybe after I post a few times, I'll stretch out somewhere with my paper and see who to hit up for work this week.

*As I guess I'll now refer to it as. I don't know who actually owns that gigantic dwelling, but I envy them. A lot.

How you coming on that novel you're working on, hmm?
Got a big, uh, stack of papers there?
Got a, got a nice little story you're working on there?
Little, little novel you've been working on for three years?
Got a, got a compelling protagonist?
Got a, got a, got an obstacle for him to overcome?
Little story brewin' there, you're working on?
Working on that for quite some time, eh?
Nice little narrative; beginning, middle and end?
Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends?
At the end, your uh, main character is richer for the experience, yeah?
Oh yeah, you need some time off.

This blog is a good rough draft. What you waiting on?!
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