Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It was close to seven last night when my oldest daughter called, asking whether her father wanted to walk. I had already bathed and settled in my recliner, cat-napping, if the truth be told, the option for a bit of exercise having been put to rest an hour earlier. The routine she follows is also mine, a half-mile down our road, then circle the park nearby before coming back in reverse. It takes a little over an hour. Sometimes she likes an extra lap around the soccer field. I don’t like her doing it by herself… The back entrance trail, taking us over a dirt path that winds through thick foliage, had been conquered. We were now at the far end of the bridge spanning the creek, the dog recreational area behind us, and as we stepped onto the cement trail at the far end, the sound of footsteps running across the metal surface of that bridge made us look behind us. It was a young child, six, maybe seven years old, a girl in a nice clean white dress, who, after pausing to examine our attention, ran past us as if chasing a woman a bit farther down. That jogger, however, veered off toward the parked cars. The child became intrigued by others playing in the creek, a younger woman sitting there beside them, one who gave no recognition whatsoever to the girl, and one who, a few moments later, we passed on the return trip, with but her own kids, the little girl no longer around… Who was her mother? Where was her mother? It has bothered me ever since……


  1. Growing up in the inner city, I saw lots of young kids wandering the streets at all kinds of hours. They often ended up making their way to our front steps for some unknown reason. They'd just hang out and chat and give us some little glimpse into their way of seeing the world. We didn't know anything about who their folks were or what exactly home life was like but I suspect that the streets at night may have seemed more safe or predictable.

    Thirty years or so later, I think of them on occasion and wonder where they are now. It's likely their kids are now the ones wandering the streets and joining gangs. Actually it could even be their grandkids at this point.

  2. "Daisy"...I grew up in the inner city also and often passed through dark railroad underpasses late at night enroute to a neighborhood grocery store. Different times, though. More and more, society has proven itself to have evolved into an amoral threat in too many ways. That little girl's dress appeared new, clean, and nice for playtime in the park. My daughter and I walked on, trusting the woman by the creek knew her; but seeing her leave without the girl left me with concern..... Forty below? Too north of the equator for me, my friend; but, then, Florida is too far south. Home is just home, I guess....