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Grateful to Still Be Walking Bob

Hi.  I’m Walking Bob, and this entry has been one of the most popular I’ve written.  Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it is still available and just so people stop asking me if my knee is alright now, I have to mention that this first appeared in May 2010 and I haven’t fallen once since then.

Hi.  I’m Walking Bob, and that is my major realization for the week.  An incident occurred that had me afraid I was going to have to hang up the walking shoes for a time and I wasn’t sure that Davis Life Magazine would print a blog called “Tripping Bob” or “Sitting Around Bob.”

I was crossing a street in downtown Davis when I heard a noise over my shoulder.  Turning to my left and continuing to walk meant that the noise was suddenly above me as a kind young man asked if I was alright.  I had tripped over the curb and gone down hard on both knees, both hands, and even tapped my forehead on the sidewalk.

I got up hoping that I had distributed the fall over all four limbs and my hard head so all would be well, except my ego.  I thanked the man who had been the noise I’d heard and for a moment wondered if I’d hit my head harder than I thought.  The message on the sidewalk had me seeing double.  Gathering my thoughts, I walked across to the same message across the street and realized the problem was a badly painted sign, not a bad sign that I had a concussion.

I decided this was a great time to catch the UniTrans A Line, which dropped me off within two blocks of my house.  I got home, cleaned up the blood, applied some antiseptic and bandages and figured I’d be healed in a day or two.  Unfortunately, the recovery went much slower than I anticipated and a month later I was still having to apply an ice pack a couple times a day, load up with ibuprofen and wear a knee brace.

Slowly I began to realize just how lucky I am to be able to call myself Walking Bob.

My self-image as a walker began when I walked in an AIDS walk in 1994 to support a student at my school who had just lost her dad and created a quilt to honor his memory.  I was soon raising money and walking in MS walks and breast cancer walks every year and realizing how much I just enjoyed walking.  But, now I’m thinking about what could, what will, happen when I don’t have the mobility I have now.

It started me thinking about my friend, Miriam, who is wheelchair bound and can’t even come in the front entrance of our church because there are those in the city who place the historical value of the steps above the accessibility value of adding a ramp.

I thought about my brother who destroyed his knee in an accident sixteen years ago and has lived in pain with limited mobility ever since, despite the best efforts of doctor after doctor, operation after operation and medication after medication.

It also brought to mind my friends who are advanced in age and have watched their dreams of wandering the streets of historic cities or climbing the hills in their favorite National Parks fade as they realized that they couldn’t get around on those cobblestone streets or climb those winding stairways anymore.

After his crippling accident, actor Christopher Reeves said, “any one of us can get hurt at any moment.  We should never walk by somebody who’s in a wheelchair and be afraid of them or think of them as a stranger.  It could be us – in fact, it is us.”

I’m Walking Bob, gratefully putting one foot in front of the other a bit more gingerly as I heal.  Take a moment to count your blessings and thank your God or your lucky stars or your good genes and good fortune as you move through the week ahead.

Still walking in honor of those who can’t, Walking Bob.

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