Here is an excerpt from the book, Mr. Wilson Makes it Home:
Weird Guy Walking
Cheryl sensed my dissatisfaction with my walks, mostly due to the infrequency of them and the resulting shrinking waistline of my pants. The less I walked, the more my pants shrank. Weird but true. I didn’t want to burden her with the real reason I stopped walking to the beach.
“You need to walk more,” she mentioned on day when I was moping around the house.
“I have nowhere to go,” I replied, quite content to remain mopey.
“Walk to the gym, you used to love to do that.”
“I don’t have time.”
“Make time, you have to stay healthy.”
“I am healthy.”
She glanced at my expanding belly, then into my eyes. I betrayed nothing, knowing that any sign of weakness would lead to more salad and less meat.
“We should get a dog, then you would walk more.”
“And, maybe people wouldn’t hide their wives and daughters when the tall weird guy who walks alone came by their house.”
“That’s your imagination.”
“It most certainly is not. A middle aged man walking alone through a neighborhood makes people worry.”
“No it doesn’t, what is the matter with you.”
“I know how people think.”
“People thankfully do not think the way you do.”
“Then how come nobody says hi when I’m walking by myself, but when I had the dogs with me everybody did. People in cars would actually stop and ask what kind of dogs they were.”
“Because people like dogs more than they like people.”
She had a point. And, she knew that she was going to get me a dog. And that dog would be Wilson.
I think that if we had been able to stay in the house we loved walking wouldn’t have been an issue. I had a giant yard to walk around in, gardens, a cabana with all the amenities, which I dubbed “The Love Shack,” next to the pool, a big shed full of shovels and rakes and dirt in bags and fertilizer and hoses and parts of things that I had no idea what they were, a giant dog pen, horseshoes, a badmitten net and plenty of weeds to pull. Plus, I was a familiar face in the neighborhood, and people would remember me as the guy who used to walk the dogs, not the weird guy walking.
That house was magical, and we missed it. Moving can be fun and adventurous when you are doing so for the right reasons. Getting a bigger house, a better neighborhood for the kids, a different location for a new job are all great reasons to move. Not so great is moving because you can’t make it down the stairs you once flew up and down carrying basketfuls of laundry, or up the stairs at the end of the day to get to bed. Stairs shouldn’t be a big deal to people in their thirties and forties, but they were, and they had to go. Along with the stairs went the accumulation of years of living, and collections of things, and the result of countless hours decorating because we loved it, not because the walls were bare.
It was Cheryl’s house, and her touch made it more than a cape with a nice yard. It had soul. At Christmastime I would come home from work exhausted, and find the tree up, the banisters wrapped with garland, lights everywhere, and best of all, seven Christmas trees. Every room had its own tree. Some were big, some were small, some bore fruit, others birds, and the big one held the family treasures.
Often I would get home before sunrise, when everybody was in bed, and I would walk around the place I called my home, and look at the things on the walls, and perfectly decorated windows, and flowers and plants just right, and see my dogs in the yard, and know my family was there, and knowing that they were in such a good place made being away from home a little easier.
If I could do it over I would work less, and when I walked through my house when everybody was asleep I would feel more a part of what I loved so much.