It was October 11, 2017. The rising sun greeted us with a 68-degree dawn at our favorite exercise place.

Most of the time there is a west or north breeze. A train track is a mile directly south. The stench of locomotive diesel spoiled our perfect morning.

Usually, we manage to miss its passing, but today our timing was off. Sound travels far in rural areas. We heard the train.

There wasn’t a north wind to keep the smell from reaching us.

I was distracted by the smell. It was more than ten minutes before I noticed Bernie and Chris had not caught up to me.

Their normal practice is to shoot out the car door and beat feet into the vacant field and do their business. I walk my sidewalk route.

They link up and start their play-fight. They jump around and run full tilt down the road. I listen for their paws pounding the pavement. I know they will rush by me.

I don’t want them to hit me and knock me down. They haven’t yet.

When I didn’t hear them, I stopped and looked back. They were still at the corner. Both dogs had their heads deep into the sidewalk gutter. Chris was barking. I didn’t hear any sound from whatever was in the gutter.

I didn’t bother walking back. Nothing I could do. I continued walking, and about three minutes later I heard them thundering toward me.

About a month ago I could only manage to walk less than a mile. Route-wise, it worked perfectly. I started at the car and ended at the car.

Now, I have increased my walking to two miles. It means I walk the same route twice. Today I would pass the same gutter area that attracted the dogs.

Even before I approached the area, Bernie and Chris sprinted ahead to it. Both dogs investigated. I didn’t hear a sound. I think whatever animal had hidden there was gone by the time I made the circuit back to the gutter.

I continued the route back to the car. The dogs followed me. The exercise was over. The dogs leaped into the car, and we left the area.

That was yesterday.

This morning, we returned, and before I even stopped the car, both dogs were whining, pacing back and forth and very anxious to get out of the car.

I opened the door, and both flashed out and raced directly back to the gutter that held their attention yesterday.


I had a flash thought of a memory of an entirely different type. Maybe you can relate to it. It’s something out of our past.

coin return-400

It’s crazy how my memory of checking a telephone coin return is like Bernie and Chris returning to a gutter hoping to find something.

gutter BC

My solitary walk stimulates all kinds of memories.

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