Walking on the Best Surface

Before my wife started having severe arthritis in one knee, we used to walk outside in the neighborhood whenever weather permitted and we had sufficient daylight. That allowed us to walk our miniature dachshund, Happy. Believe it or not, those short little legs did a great job of doing a full two-mile walk!

Unfortunately, I also have a problem that can make walking uncomfortable at times–never so extreme that I can’t walk, but bad enough to be conscious of while walking. And that slows me down. It’s been more of a issue since they paved our street a few years ago. The surface is hard, and each time I put my foot down I can feel the pain.

I do a lot of my walking at the mall now. Even though there’s concrete underneath, at least the top surface is covered with tile. Just a slight improvement over the street when it comes to reducing the pain. But even that slight improvement allows me to walk a little faster, and that’s good.

We recently joined the Y so my wife can swim. I go with her, not to swim–I’ve never learned how–but to walk. Our Y has a wonderful walking/running track overlooking the gym area. Sixteen times around equals a mile, and that eliminates a lot of guesswork regarding how fast I’m going.



The best feature of the Y’s walking track is the floor. It’s not spongy, but it’s definitely a body-friendly semi-soft material. Walking on it, I can do my two miles in thirty minutes without any problems. And without my pain being more than barely noticeable. Whoever designed the Y’s walking track to provide the safest and most pleasant walking surface knew what they were doing.

However, I know of one place that will provide even better walking facilities. and that’s Heaven.

The idea of streets of gold–that’s how the Bible describes Heaven as having–might not sound very appealing to walkers. After all, gold may be a very soft metal–especially pure gold–but would it be more comfortable to walk or run on than the Y?

I can’t answer that question from personal experience. But since the Bible assures us that Heaven is a perfect place– free from sin, pain, and all types of unpleasantness–I’m not worried about those golden streets. Since I won’t be bothered by my pain there, what difference will it make?

I’ll be too absolutely thrilled about Heaven’s perfection to even remember my former pain.

Do you have something you especially look forward to in Heaven’s perfectness? How about sharing a comment?

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

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A (Not So) Neighborly Problem

This is a true story, but I’ve changed the name of the person I’m writing about to avoid potential problems. Even though there is no chance she would ever learn about this blog post.

I recently had a visit from a Hanover County deputy. But before I tell you why, let me share the back story.

Elizabeth is ninety-three. She and her adult son–he’s around my age–have lived next door the entire fourteen years I’ve lived here, and–until recently–my relationship with Elizabeth was reasonably pleasant. If I didn’t talk with her often, it was because we didn’t have anything in common, not my lack of interest in her as a person.

Although she has a number of other health issues, her poor hearing, inability to walk easily, and weakening mental powers have proven to be the most frustrating–at least from my perspective.

Kathleen and I have made many efforts to be good neighbors to Elizabeth. I used to drive her to a doctor’s or a lawyer’s appointment from time to time, and Kathleen periodically drove her to the beauty shop. For years, Kathleen called her on Friday afternoons to find out what she needed us to get her at the grocery store that evening. While her needs were small, the extra shopping took time and effort and Elizabeth seemed to appreciate it.

Like many people from her generation, she’s afraid to spend much to make her place safer and more livable. Consequently, taking her food over when we got back from the grocery store required a visit to a less than environmentally pleasant atmosphere. But she needed help–her son doesn’t help as much as he could–and we felt we should continue doing whatever we could.

For years Elizabeth had claimed she heard me singing in the middle of the night or at other times–sometimes when I wasn’t home. But a few months ago, she started complaining to Kathleen that  the songs she heard me singing were critical of her. No amount of protesting on Kathleen’s part–how many times did she assure that poor woman that I did not get up during the night and sing, much less do it loudly enough for Elizabeth to hear next door with her poor hearing?– would convince her that she was hallucinating. Neither did Kathleen’s insistence that I wouldn’t sing bad things about her.

Why in the world would I want to?

Then Elizabeth called to tell Kathleen they couldn’t be friends anymore since Kathleen wasn’t keeping me from singing those nasty songs about her. Although that freed us from helping with the grocery shopping, our concern about her welfare led us to check with social services to see what help might be available for her.

The hallucinations have continued. Elizabeth has left lengthy voice mail on our phone (although not recently) and at the community office complaining about the songs she insists and sincerely believes–that’s the scary part–she hears. She’s called the Sheriff’s office at least three times to complain about me and believes she’s seen me talking to them at least once during the middle of the night.

I have to give the Hanover deputies a great deal of credit for their kindness and patience. Talking with Elizabeth and then with me, they can’t miss seeing that the real problem is senility, although of course they’re not free to express that opinion.

When the deputy came to the door that morning, he asked if I knew why he was here. “My next-door neighbor probably thinks she’s heard me singing nasty songs about her again.” His visit was brief, but as pleasant as it could be under the circumstances. He understood what Elizabeth is unable to understand and accept.

I’ve hesitated to publish this post because I’m not fond of saying anything bad about Elizabeth. Her mental condition isn’t her fault any more than her physical problems, and her hallucinations haven’t created any real problem for Kathleen and me. I’m not sure the community office and the Sheriff’s department would agree, however.

We both feel as sorry for and concerned about Elizabeth as we possibly can. Kathleen and I pray for her at least several times daily. The poor woman is miserable, and–even though I haven’t done and wouldn’t do anything to hurt her–I feel bad that she’s so convinced I have and I do.

I usually ask for comments about my blog posts, but today I have a different request. Would you use the comment space to pray a simple prayer for Elizabeth’s well-being and for God to alleviate the misery her hallucinations are causing?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.


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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,

(National) Neighborhood Night Out

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After complaining about routine a few days ago, I thought I’d write about a wonderful routine breaker I enjoyed just a few nights ago. Of course, since it happens only once a year, its good effects won’t be long lasting.

My wife and I live in a mobile home park. As you know if you’ve been following me recently, ours is far nicer than a “trailer park” and shouldn’t be thought of that way.

We have well over a hundred homes in our community, and the management does a great job of promoting a sense of community.

Several nights ago was our sixth or seventh annual Neighborhood Night Out. Or is it “National Night Out”? Either way, the only thing I can  complain about is the fact that several smokers (very few people in the crowd were) smoked too close to me. I’m very allergic and still felt all clogged up the next day.

One thing that probably distinguishes our NNO from “block parties” elsewhere is the lack of alcohol.

It was a wonderful family event. Although everyone brings a covered dish–most of them with something inside–the park management gets contributions from a number of local businesses. So along with hamburgers and hotdogs we had pizza and subs.

Because of the number of Latino folks living here, a number of the dishes were quite a change from the normal fare.

The main attraction of the evening was the talent show. Several of us adults participated. I did a couple of my original songs, another fellow played a keyboard solo, and a couple did a line dance. All the more amazing because the lady wears a knee brace.

But the kids were what everyone was waiting for. They did a little bit of everything. Some sang along with recordings and some sang to what I assume were karaoke soundtracks. Some proved to be excellent little dancers, too, and you wouldn’t believe how nicely these children dressed up for their performances.

One of the older boys who didn’t appear to be a part of the actual talent stayed busy working as a stage hand, getting microphone stands in place and adjusted for the next act.

The manager of the park was applauded not just for all the work she and her husband had done, but for her statement that she and her family planned to live in the park forever. It says something good about a place when someone in her position says that and obviously means it. (She and her husband recently bought a bigger mobile home and are renting out their old one.)

One of the nice aspects of the Neighborhood Night Out is the support of the local law enforcement community. We always have five or six officers–plus McGruff, the poor lady dressed in the dog outfit. It’s a great way for people–especially kids–to be around policemen in a non-threatening atmosphere.

We also had a local politician this year.

I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s events like this that make me appreciate our special little community all the more. And to appreciate my neighbors all the more, too.

Do you have anything similar where you live? Is it similar to ours? Please share in a comment.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday.  If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”check it out here. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list here.

Best regards,