The Blessings Of A Sidewalk

Nobody really NEEDS a sidewalk. A person can survive fine without any concrete at all for long periods and nothing horrible will happen. I did.

I lived in a house in the country on two acres for 25 years and the closest thing to a sidewalk we ever had was a gravel road that came up to the house. There were no fineries like sidewalks or curbs or drains or even paved roads in most areas. No, we were rural people. We had grass that transitioned into gravel that transitioned into horse paths that transitioned into wild growing things. There were no clearly defined areas of activity (except IN the house). There was just inside and outside.

Outside was once wild pasture and it had a strong desire to return to its wildness. It was not easily controlled or directed. I’m not sure it would have even tolerated a sidewalk!

People in the country don’t need sidewalks. I never saw one of my neighbors walk “around the block” of an evening. I never saw anyone sit in their driveway and greet neighbors. Country folk stick to themselves. They might wave when they pass but would never just come over uninvited. No, we just walked to the barn or the mailbox on dirt and gravel. We might sit on the back patio and barbecue, but no dog walkers or kids on bicycles passed by. In fact, I never once in 25 years had a single Trick-or-Treater come to my door on Halloween.

At first, I was okay with the rural pattern of things, but after many years, I began to miss the feeling of a neighborhood. I wanted more structure – more concrete, if you can believe that!

When it was time to move and look for a new house, one of the “must haves” was sidewalks. It was at the top of the list, along with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, two-car garage and a fenced in backyard. Actually, I think it may have even been more important than the fenced yard. Concrete walkways had become just that vital to my happiness and wellbeing!

Come to find out, sidewalks actually contribute to a neighborhood’s wellbeing also. They provide increased safety, increased interaction among homeowners and increased outdoor activity. People, in general, like sidewalks and use them when they have them.                                           They run,

                                             push strollers,

                                                       walk their dogs,

                                        teach their kids how to ride bikes,

                                           have block parties,

                                           visit with neighbors,

                                           draw with chalk,

                                            play chess,

and enjoy a meal on them.

All kinds of wonderful and productive activities are conducted on sidewalks. I wanted one! I had to have one! I got one! Lucky, lucky me!!

I loooooooove my sidewalk!!!! True to its reputation, it comes right in front of my house and connects with every other house on the block. Gramps and I can walk on our sidewalk every evening in the cool air, be safe, wave to new friends, greet happy, slobbery dogs, encourage children on bikes and scooters, all while having a great conversation and possibly solving the world’s problems. What more could one ask of a long, narrow piece of concrete? And get it?

I think a sidewalk is one of the greatest things ever invented. I am certainly happy with the one I have. It keeps my neighborhood so connected and so cozy. And it provides a clean crisp edge to the lawn – something I never had at my rural house.This is also something I never had at my rural house, but he is definitely enjoying the sidewalk!!

Awhile back, we returned to our old house to pick up a package and had a nice visit with the new owners – a lovely family with two young girls and two energetic dogs. The wife was telling us how she loved to run every morning up and down the dirt/gravel road. She and her family are so happy to be in the house, in the country with no sidewalks. I am so happy for them and for our old house. They are going to make a lot of memories together.

How perfect it is that our old house has the right, new family and we have the right, new house with the perfect sidewalk. Life is Good!

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True Romance

When I was young I thought a “romantic” man was one who would shower me with flowers, candy, candles, lobster, and diamonds. He would tell me all manner of wonderful things, such as how beautiful I was, how much I inspired him and how he lived to please me. I would receive all these kindnesses by fluttering my long dark eyelashes and pursing my plump lips – nothing more.

Does any of this sound at all familiar? I think we have all been brainwashed by a victorian concept of romance. As great as it all may seem, after years of marriage, children, and grandchildren, I have had to search for a more realistic version of romance in other areas – sidewalks for instance.

We are moving and have begun to look for a new house. We have many wants and needs on our list of things to look for in that house. One thing high on my list of wants is sidewalks. We currently have none as we live on 2 acres in a more rural area. I read that a neighborhood with sidewalks is much less likely to experience crime, robbery, home invasions etc. Since reading that, I really want sidewalks. I really have the need to be in a more stable area with friendly neighbors and sidewalks. It has to have sidewalks.

I know this sounds like a small thing that I’m making into a big thing. I felt a bit embarrassed to make this known to Gramps because when the words came out, they sounded a bit petty. I did however, quietly mention the study concerning the effect of sidewalks on a neighborhood. No big deal – just said it matter-of-factly.

Tonight Gramps and I were driving back from GS #2’s basketball game and of course, the subject turned to the move and the new house. Gramps said with determination, “What we really need is a good neighborhood,  one with friendly neighbors and especially sidewalks.”

I don’t think I actually teared up, but my heart was so touched, I couldn’t speak. Finally, I was able to whisper, “How did you know I wanted sidewalks?”

Gramps replied in his matter-of-fact engineer’s voice, “You told me about the study. I knew then how important it was to you. And if you want a neighborhood with sidewalks, then that’s what we’ll find – sidewalks.

Let’s be honest, anyone can draw a bubble bath. And a walk on the beach is well . . . . . a walk on the beach. But it takes some deliberate honey-doing to not only listen to what I said but hear what I meant. Then to put my wants at the top of the list and finally to embrace those wants as his own. One would have thought it was his idea to begin with. THAT, my Sweeties, is true ROMANCE.

THAT is the true giving and receiving of love. THAT is wanting the best for the other person. THAT is going out of one’s way to make it happen. And THAT, my Sweeties, is TRUE ROMANCE!