I wasn’t sure if it was misappropriated boldness or if it was the way my coat was fitting me that winter. But one thing was for certain-something was amiss.
As a local news reporter, I’d gone to the hospital to do a story with someone at the public health department. Upon arrival she asked me, “Oh! When are you due?”
“Due for what?” I replied with a pink face, though I knew full well what she meant.
I think we were each a little embarrassed by our own selves at that moment. She apologized and we laughed and got on with our scheduled time together, but her question made me realize that perhaps the cat calls I thought I’d been hearing were really mating calls coming from an approaching rhinoceros herd camped a few miles outside of our farm.
I decided immediately that maybe I should I should begin some kind of diet and fitness routine.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, so I thought I better start out slow and do a little walking.
I considered running, but much to my chagrin, there were too many moving parts in front and back of me as I did so that made me think I could maim myself or someone else if I were to follow to closely in front of or behind someone else on the walking trail – especially in a rollover situation if I tripped on a fallen tree limb or fell victim to an ill-timed squirrel crossing.
If I’d been much younger with those moving parts, it could have played to my advantage. But at my age, no one wanted to see it.
Actually, I’m pretty sure that even the squirrels would have waited to cross the walking trail until I was out of sight.
And so I began walking each and every day.
Fast-forward to our young-children-at-home days, and I was left eating everyone’s dust as they took their pedal-powered training wheel and tricycle hogs out onto the gravel roads.
I knew I had to do something about a bicycle or I’d be running behind three young hog bosses.
So I set out to find a bicycle at a garage sale, and I did find one. It was blue and had a basket on it, and it reminded me a little of the bicycle Elvira Gulch rode on, “The Wizard of Oz.”
Looking back, I remembered a time when an older, but elementary-school-aged version of our daughter was seriously pondering what to be for Halloween.
After I had purchased her a witch’s hat, she said to me with gleeful anticipation, “Hey Mom! I could use your broom!”
With great inner trembling, I found that a pattern was beginning to emerge here and that it was only a matter of time before the wart showed up on the end of my nose.
I thought that as long as I only saw flying monkeys in my sleep, I was probably still in Iowa.
But as I was examining the garage-sale bicycle that day, the woman who owned it said to me, “I think you’ll really like this bike – it has a nice big seat.”
Everyone’s a comedian.
The bike worked well and in time my resemblance to the circus freak-show lady had somewhat diminished.
Years later as I had stepped up my walking game and got very serious about it, I lost 15 pounds in the span of one summer.
I was proud of my accomplishment until later that year one of our sons needed to cut some weight for wrestling. It took him all of about three weeks.
Oh, the injustice of it all.
Life was so much easier as a farm kid when weight wasn’t an issue. We walked beans all summer long for Mom and Dad and for many of our neighbors.
The more we walked, the longer we could wear our clothes-and Mom’s and Dad’s seed beans all got walked twice each year.
Oh, how much faster that job would have gone if I could have ridden my broom.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and at www.karenschwaller.com.
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