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Enjoy Mississippi with a neighborhood stroll

Great Expectations

Forget about the physical health benefits from walking. Walking renews the soul. I love the sights, sounds and smells when going for an early morning walk. I enjoy seeing birds, squirrels, trees, lawns, flowers and people scurrying to begin their day. The sounds of vehicles with their different exhaust systems, birds singing, dogs barking, and the “good mornings” from Mississippi people are delightful sounds.

Springtime is a favorite time to enjoy the smells of flowering plants. I even enjoy the pungent smell of wild onions and wild garlic.

While walking this morning, a man, whom I have never met or seen, stopped his car, backed up, rolled down a window and said, “Where is your wife? Haven’t seen her walking with you lately.” I explained that she was working and thanked him for asking.

This incident reminded me of numerous pleasant experiences that I have had while walking. The major experience is the time spent walking and talking with my wife. The secondary experiences include those interactions with wonderful Mississippians. Here are a few of the memories:

• My wife rescued a mongrel from the Mississippi Animal Rescue League. B.J. lived for 17 years. She loved going for a walk. She was a smart little dog and would impatiently wait for us at each intersection before being given permission to cross the street. In her declining years, we shortened her walks to short ones around the block. We then put her in the house and continued our walk. For the next year, and long after her death, strangers would stop us and ask, “Where is your little dog?”

• My teenage daughter and I decided, on a dare, to go for a run in a torrential summer downpour of rain. A run or a walk in cool rain and hot weather is an exhilarating experience. The adventure was marred only by my wife (who thought we were crazy) and those wonderful Mississippians who kept stopping to offer us a ride.

• Walking during those hot summer days is also fun. I call them “Mississippi Sauna Days.” We were drenching wet with sweat and an old man working in his front lawn asked us if he could give us a ride somewhere. We explained that we were just out for a walk. He looked at us as if we were crazy and said, “ Well then, would you like a drink of cold water?”

• While walking one day another new mother proudly showed off her baby who was riding in the stroller. I commented that the baby was beautiful. (I tell all young parents that their baby is beautiful because they all are.) Some time later I saw this young lady in the grocery store. I didn’t recognize her. She said, “You remember me. I’m the one with the beautiful baby.”

What’s walking got to do with a business journal? Nothing, except we should be selling the world on Mississippi’s abundance of resources, wonderful climate, and most of all its beautiful people.

Archie King, LPC, is a human resources consultant who lives in Madison. His column appears from time to time in the Mississippi Business Journal. E-mail him at archie.king@worldnet.att.net.

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