It is an older movie, now. If you haven't seen it, it is one of my favorites, and I heartily recommend finding the movie Roxanne and seeing it.
It is a rewriting of Cyrano de Bergerac, set in a Washington State town. The first scene shows Steve Martin's character walking through town to get to his Firehall. The entire way there is spent greeting people. Saying hello to little old ladies, children, and the like. That scene is probably the best illustration of what is the best of living in a small town.
I see a lot of that here. I make it a point to always allow an hour for a 15 minute walk here in Wilton Manors.
First of all, the dog does slow you down. Oh sure, you're out there for him. After all "Who's walk is it anyway". He's going to sniff around under things, poke his nose into shrubbery, and catch the scent on the breeze.
When he does catch the scent, it is usually because it's one of his friends. Mind you, Rack, my McNab Superdog, has an excellent nose.
That nose slows me down. Cyrano de Bergerac did not have a nose so sensitive, although I suspect it was as grand.
Rack will catch the scent of a friend on the breeze a block away. At that point I know what has happened because the tail begins to wag. The closer that friend, four legged or two gets, the faster the wag will get.
Now, keep in mind that mere mile walk, a solid 1600 meters, should take you personally 15 minutes.
Nope. You have to now greet your dog's friends. It's always your dog's friends because if you train him right, your friends become your dog's friends.
Pause for a conversation. Get caught up on the news of the day. Listen to their reaction to being jumped up on by a 45 pound eager herding breed.
Yes, I'm trying to train him to stop.
Yes, you're feeding into the frenzy.
No, I don't mind if you don't.
All part of the deal.
You part. It's another couple feet and the process repeats itself.
I had to stop by the park anyway and grab that Lei off of the butterfly statue. I finally did because the rains were coming. May as well keep it fairly nice. I might just hand it off to someone else if they really like the thing.
Run into the next person. They noticed the lei a block away. Tell the story of the lei and that it's nice and loose. Not just loose around his neck, but Nice and Loose.
That Niceness quotient is important.
Spend a little time discussing the goings on in the neighborhood, and part ways.
Still on the first side of the block, you run into the third person. They're coming home with their dog in the back of their car. They get out and exchange a few pleasantries as they settle their dog down. We keep moving because they "Have Frozen Things!".
Rounding the corner, we come to the other park. There's a volleyball game in full swing.
"Hey Look! There's a dog with a thing round its neck! Cool!".
Rack doesn't particularly care for strange people who aren't escorted by dogs so he keeps pulling onwards. I make a mental note that if he doesn't stop tugging, I'm going to get a cart, sit down in it, and let him pretend he's on the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in our little quirky tropical island.
We get to Wilton Drive. Here the tourists are. I'm hearing the story about how they left their dog back in Ohio and miss it dearly. You can have the Lei if you like. I really don't need it. The darn thing is just going to get tossed eventually
That scene happens another four times in the next quarter mile.
I run into one of the business owners I know sitting in front of the Art Gallery. Rack is wagging furiously. I drop his leash and he runs over at full speed. Telling the story of the lei again, I comment that "M.E. Wouldn't Want The Thing On The Butterfly Much Longer So Rack's Got It". He gets a browser to his shop and we get going again.
I slow down because there's a pitbull ahead acting like a stereotype. The owner uses her foot to get its attention in a nudge that doesn't quite work. While she waves us past, I don't linger. I simply don't trust a pitbull no matter how much people insist it's the owner and not the breed.
It wasn't the owner that was threatening my dog.
Passing further on, it's another business owner we know. Rack would love to go across the street but it is rush hour. We wave across five lanes of traffic that should be narrowed to two and keep moving.
Before we got off of Wilton Drive, it's another two tourists that tell of the story of their dog Up North.
I stop myself from telling them to bring their dog next time. I did it with Lettie in the Jeep as a snowbird and it's a lot of work.
I check my watch when we round the corner. 45 minutes. Another quarter mile, I may make it back before sunset.
My own block. It's practically empty. Rack is still tugging. Dropping the leash, he immediately changes gears and cycles back. Nice to have a well trained dog.
I run into one last neighbor. Nice little chat, we'll have to have coffee soon.
It's been an hour. I'm home. Rack sits down. Time to wash your feet. That Yellow Footed Collie Syndrome isn't exactly welcome on my clean tile floor.
Yes, that yellow.
One lap around the driveway in the grass and we're finally home.
What's for dinner?