Reflections – walking home from school
(From the Beachy Banner, 1976-77, exact date unknown)
Most of the children walk to and from school, while some – like my own two sons –are chauffeured by their parents because it is too far for them to walk.
However it happened one day that my car had to go into the shop for repairs and while I was able to find someone to take the boys to school in the morning, I found it necessary to travel shank’s mare in the afternoon. (which means to walk).
Walking, I discovered, is like a riding a bicycle. You don’t really forget how to do it (after so many years) but it’s amazing how rusty you can get without practice. I made it to the school, however, slightly worse for wear, and feeling somewhat abashed; I had walked miles and miles in my childhood, never thinking a thing of it, and here I was, puffing and panting after a mile!
The boys greeted my announcement (we are walking home) with delighted cheers. It would be such an adventure!
Homeward bound, they and a group of other children (‘going our way’) ran ahead, laughing and singing, while mother brought up the rear carrying lunch boxes, coats, and homework papers. We met and spoke with the young school crossing guard as she escorted us safely across the street.
We found treasures; a tiny red button, a penny, a stub of a pencil (perfectly good if your hand was small enough to hold onto it), a pretty red and orange leaf, a tiny plastic car. We admired the scenery—the furry tiger-striped tomcat snoozing contentedly on some one’s front porch, the flowers that were blooming, the blades of grass peeking delicately through the ground.
We passed a fenced-in yard where a miniature white poodle came charging up to the fence to growl ferociously at us. The children growled ferociously back at the poodle and laughed delightedly when the startled animal retreated hastily to the safety of his front door.
One by one our escorts reached their homes and said goodbye. We walked on.
We reached home, good and tired, and happy with our adventure. “If we have to walk home again tomorrow,” I said, “we’ll take another route so we can see other things.”
But the next day my car was running again and we drove to and from school. It really is too far to walk if you don’t have to.