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A worthwhile walk

By KARRIE McALLISTER Columnist Published: April 1, 2017 5:00 AM

It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but what do you get when you cross a small town, an automobile error light and a stubborn woman?

You get a great day.

I love my car because, although it's not fancy, it goes when I need it to go and it stops when I need it to stop. It's simple enough that I've fixed parts of it all by myself by watching videos online and have learned that duct tape can hold a door strap on for only so long. I've also learned that most of the error lights that come on are due to some computer glitch and can be ignored for a decent amount of time, much to the chagrin of my mother who thinks that three at one time is just too many. (It probably is.)

But this latest error light came with an obnoxious beep that chimed at random times and during the majority of my right turns. Not willing to remove the steering wheel and play with wires, I scheduled it to a reliable place in my town.

"Do you need a ride?" they asked.

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"Nope," I replied. Being too stubborn to admit that I'm that stubborn, I didn't want to bother anyone for a lift. It wasn't raining, so after dropping the vehicle off, I strapped on a backpack and headed for a walk around town until they got it all fixed.

Long story short, I ended up walking around town for almost six hours. It was a lot of walking, and I had the lingering tight calf muscles to prove it. But it was all worth it.

I could have gotten a ride home and waited out the repairs. I probably would have also finished some overdue chores and made dinner. But I wouldn't have gotten to see the town where we live in such a different way.

The houses downtown are all unique. Some have received more love than others over their many years, and every house has something that is a symbol of pride. A wreath. A windchime. Decorative numbers. I read the names of the street signs and wondered who named them. I saw a pond I never knew existed. I passed people and said hello. And tucked in between a heap of new houses I saw an old farm house back behind the trees that I've driven past hundreds of times but never even noticed.

I was always in a hurry, I guess.

And I'll sadly be in a hurry again soon, now that my car is error light free and right turns are silent. But I will remember my day about town and be thankful for a slow walk through a familiar place at an unfamiliar pace and make sure my own front door wreath is hanging straight.


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