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Travels With Maggie: It's All Just Flesh and Blood

Are You Ready?

Maggie’s jumping up and down, barking. She does that every single time I grab the leash, and the only way to stop her is to hook her up and get her out the door. Toby, he’s a bit more laidback, oddly, and I say oddly because normally he’s sixty-five pounds of kinetic energy.

Would you like to take a walk with us? Meet us at the end of the driveway, where the concrete ends and the wonders begin.

Maggie and Toby are ready!

Maggie and Toby are ready!

It’s Fall and Beautiful

I think the dogs love walking this time of year more than any other. It’s cooler, which they like, and they love to walk on a carpet of fallen leaves. Toby, he loves to grab leaves with his snout, push them up in the air, and then grab them as they fall. It’s great fun for him and entertaining as hell for me.

When I was a teenager I would take my dog, Pixie, on similar walks in the fall, and she loved them as well. We would walk past the Witherspoon house, the Langston house, and the Mertz house. I would wave to them if they were out, say how ya doing, then continue, to the Todd’s, the Gordon’s, Streitz and Hoffman.

I was thinking about that the other day, those walks, in the fall, back in 1960, during the Presidential race between Kennedy and Nixon. Our family, we were Catholics, and we were rooting for the Democratic, Catholic candidate, Kennedy, but that wasn’t a popular thing to do. Believe it or not, there was an anti-Catholic movement back then; the country had never elected a Catholic for President. Anyway, I remember there being quite a bit of conflict over that election, and some seriously angry people when that damned “Pope lover” was elected.

Our neighborhood!

Our neighborhood!

But What I Don’t Remember Is This

I have no clue whether my neighbors were Republicans or Democrats.

I really don’t!

I couldn’t tell you how the Mertz family voted. The same with the Todds and Zetterbergs and Gordons. If it ever came up in a conversation during the twenty years I lived in that neighborhood, I don’t remember it. I remember a hell of a lot of conversations about baseball, and barbecues, and helping each other with outdoor projects. I remember talks about kids having the flu and older daughters getting married and deaths in the family, but not a single word about politics.

Isn’t that strange?

And we were the only Catholics in the neighborhood, and I don’t remember a single word about our Catholicism, nothing like “those damned Catholics,” just howdy and how ya doing and do you need any help with that, and isn’t that strange as well?

The Walk Continues

Heidi is out raking her leaves. So is Joel across the street, and Alana down at the end of the block. The dogs wag their tails in greeting as I add my “good morning” to the sounds of the neighborhood, garbage can lids, car alarms, mothers calling their kids, mixing with the songs of birds, the whisper of a breeze. I start humming “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” a song from long ago, by The Monkees, as we continue along our spongy carpet of oranges, reds, and yellows.

I don’t know Heidi’s last name. Same with Joel and Alana. I’ve known them now for close to ten years, and I may have heard those last names at one time, but I don’t think so. It’s just one of those things, pretty typical of neighborhoods these days, everyone seems to be too damned busy to buddy up with neighbors, surface conversations, a wave, a smile, and move on with life. I’m not laying any blame on anyone, not with me not knowing last names; I’m just tossing it out there, an observation and nothing more.

I don’t know if they are Catholics. I don’t know if they are Democrats or Republicans, and I’m fine with that. From what I can tell, they are good people, respectful, caring, and loving, and that, to me, is much more important than their political affiliation or which god they worship. And, most importantly, they all like Maggie and Toby, so they are of sound character.

My better half and the dogs!

My better half and the dogs!

A Quick Shower

That’s what Fall is like in our neck of the woods, passing showers, passing sun breaks, everything propelled aloft by the jet stream, a river of air, always loved that description, dipping your toe in that stream would require being suspended at twenty-thousand feet, hanging upside down, my imagination running wild now, giving human characteristics to an ethereal concept, welcome to my mind, my creativity, as Jeannie approaches, with her dog Elsie, big old yellow lab, friendly like all labs, and my dogs sniff, wag tails, Jeannie wishes me a great day, quick small talk, and I don’t know Jeannie’s last name either, sensing a pattern here in this “nameless” part of the Northern Hemisphere, we pass each other on a jet stream of our own making, busy people, preoccupied people, going in opposite directions . . .

And not a word is said about politics or religion, and I’m fine with that too.

A Noisy Leaf Blower

Up ahead, Maurice, a black guy, mid-thirties, blowing leaves all over the place with a gas-powered blower, across the street from him stands Peter, mid-sixties, another black guy, a piano repairman, blind believe it or not, and what an odd scene that is, two black guys within fifty feet of each other, in a ridiculously white city, like finding two purple snowflakes in a blizzard, and for the umpteenth time I wonder why Olympia is so white, strongly Liberal in politics, and yet whiter than white.

Maggie and Toby don’t much care about all that nonsense. They like Maurice. They like Peter. Their tails wag just as hard for a black guy as a white, just the way it is, just the way they rock n roll, pats on the head and treats given out don’t have no color associated with them, only affection and friendliness.

No politics spoken. No religious beliefs discussed. Just a man, his two dogs, and two black guys, first names known, last names a mystery, greeting each other, sharing smiles, sharing a bond which has no name, and yes, I’m fine with that as well.

The leaf blower cranks up again, doing battle now with a stiffer breeze, we all wave and move on with our lives, my dogs telling me it’s time for a treat, and I completely agree with them as the skies weep and random thoughts compete in my brain.

A Bear of Very Little Brain

Me and Pooh, and I’m fine with that, too, catch the poetry in that sentence, and we’re back home now, time to get on with the chores and errands, the dogs thankful for your company, and me as well.

I’ll let you form your own opinions and thoughts about that walk. Me, it’s pretty simple, I size-up a person by the color of their character, the way they treat others, and not by their politics or religion or any of that other nonsense. Show me respect, I’ll show you the same, and we’ll get along quite nicely. As for Maggie and Toby, well, I’ll let their wagging tails speak for them.

Thanks for joining us. We are back on the pavement of the driveway, which means the wonders have come to an end for this chapter in our lives, but we sure hope you will join us again on our next walk. You are all wonderful company, and we appreciate you, even if we don’t know your last names.

2020 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

Comments

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 23, 2020:

Jo, if I lived in Tennessee, and I was a Democrat, I would stay silent about it too. LOL Thanks for the chuckle, and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on November 22, 2020:

I remember that 1960 election also, Bill. My family were Republican but I really liked Kennedy. Couldn't vote in that election but when I could in 1964, I voted for Johnson because he passed the civil rights legislation. I'm living blue in a very red area so never discuss politics with our neighbors but get along just fine.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2020:

Thank you Flourish! It's at least curious, isn't it, how we got out of the habit of greeting new neighbors and being more than just "wave friendly?" Maybe it will change soon. I would like it if there were more interactions.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2020:

Thank you Brenda! No worries about those chores. I know when to stop and smell the "roses." In fact, I quite enjoy a good rest nowadays. :) Have a wonderful Thursday!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2020:

Thank you Becky! I wish I had three acres for my dogs to run in. They need constant exercise, and I'm getting too old to provide it all the time.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2020:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan! It shouldn't be that hard, in theory, to respect the opinions of other people. I wonder why it is so hard in actual practice to do so?

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2020:

Thanks so much, Pamela! I do try to be respectful and accepting of peoples' opinions. Admittedly, it is hard at times, but I do try.

Happy Thursday to you, my friend.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2020:

Linda, it would be wonderful for sure. I wonder if you and I will ever see that world you describe? I personally doubt it, but I still hold out hope that our greater angels will win.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 11, 2020:

I usually give people the benefit of the doubt and believe they are kind and good until proven otherwise, although I strongly question those who don’t like animals, and especially cats. There’s something not right there. I know my neighbors about like you know yours and I’ve lived here 20 years. There’s one exception, a next door neighbor. It’s unfortunate really.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 11, 2020:

Bill,

I found it on hubpages forum.

I so enjoyed taking a stroll with you, Maggie, Toby and seeing the picture of your better half walking the dogs too.

You have that sense about you as living a carefree life.

Minding your own business but enjoying life at the same time.

I doubt if I know many last names of those people I occasionally see and wave to either. But it is always nice to have a quick chit chat.

The weather here cannot make up it's mind.

One day we have snow flurries. The next it is 79 with the sun shining. Today it has been raining and now it is just a gloomy fall day with the temperature starting to get chilly reminding me old man winter is about to rear his ugly head again.

Thanks for the walk. Enjoy your day and don't get too carried away with all those chores.

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on November 11, 2020:

I enjoyed your walk this morning. My son's dog is the one I use to evaluate people. He seems to have a knack for that. If he doesn't like you, you might as well give it up, because he will growl quietly the whole time you are here. My daughter's dog loves anyone that will scratch her. She is a lap dog. I don't even have one right now. My old boy moved on and there are enough here that I don't need another one. I just open the back door and let them run. They have about 3 acres, full of rabbits and lizards to chase after. I sit on the porch and watch them fly after everything. My neighbors don't talk to each other. I'm not even sure of their first names. We wave, but no conversation.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 11, 2020:

Thank you for taking us along for the walk. I really enjoyed reading your description and words of wisdom.

You have made some significant points, through the article. I especially appreciate your views about having different opinions, but still be cordial with each other. Peaceful coexistence is important and it has always been.

Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 11, 2020:

Autumn is my favoite time of the year, so of course I joined in on that walk. It is fun to watch the dogs, Bill. Thank you.

I remember Knnedy and Nixon but I wasn't old enough to vote. I thought Kenndy was wonderful, and I was so sad when he was shot. I don't remember political discussions. I like the way you are with other people as that explained. I believe if people will treat you well if you show them respect. Have a great day, Bill. Thank you for the walk.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

Millicent, thanks for your thoughts. You are always welcome to join us. I suspect you could teach me things about life which I would find fascinating and helpful. Take care!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

Oh Bobbi, I never think of you as rude. You are a dear friend on HP and that's all I ever think of you as. Political opinions are minor compared to the essence of a person. Thank you for your kind words. I hope this finds you well.

bill

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

Thank you Rosina! I'm not sure knowing their last names would serve any purpose. I know them even if I don't know their full names. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

I noticed that, Peggy! I went to comment this morning on two articles and they were already on niche sites. That happened far too quickly. Sigh!

Thank you always! You are wonderful company on these walks.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

Sounds like a good day ahead, Eric! Tell that boy of yours I said howdy!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

And maybe, John, that's all we really need to know about people, the quality of their character. The rest is just window dressing, my friend. Thank you!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

Ann, if I can take away the niggles, then I have done my job for the day. Thank you my friend. I hope you had as much fun on this walk as we did having you with us.

Fall is definitely upon us here. Chilly mornings, snow in the mountains, and, of course, rain. :(

Happy Hump Day to you!

bill

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on November 11, 2020:

Bill, wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world without labels? God doesn't care if we lean left or right or straight down the middle. He made is ivory, ebony, and every imaginable shade in between. Inside we all have the capacity to love. That's what's important. That's what you and Maggie and Toby do. And that's how I plan to spend this day as well.

Thanks for letting me join you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 11, 2020:

We appreciate you joining us, Liz! You were great company on this walk.

Millicent Okello from Nairobi, Kenya on November 11, 2020:

How I wish the world would some day come to know that we don't live for our ethnic background, gender,age or party. I wish we could learn from Toby and Maggie- very friendly, loving and caring.

Ofcouse, I would love to join you in your walk next time even if you don't know my last name.Great article. God bless.

Barbara Purvis Hunter from Florida on November 11, 2020:

Hi Bill,

I loved John F. Kennedy President Reagan and Barbara Bush and her family. My GGG-Grandfather was a Republican. I grew up in a family of Democrats. Who belonged to what party was not an issue on the country farm of my grandparents. They share their crops and meat from their smoke house with all their friends.

I have friends who are not in the same party as I--and we respect that when we are together. I do get over-heated sometimes in viewing my opinion on YouTube and my parents would be ashamed of my rudeness. I have put a muffler on my mouth for awhile.

I have always loved your hubs since the first time I joined--you are such a dear man to all of us--and I hope I have never been rude to you.

Take care,

Bobbi Purvis

Rosina S Khan on November 11, 2020:

Thank you for the walk, Bill along with your dogs and for getting to know your neighbors even if you only know their first names. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 11, 2020:

We do know the political affiliation of some of our neighbors because of signs and banners outside of their homes that are still up post election. I think that most animals are smarter than we are. They do not judge people because of their nationality, political leanings, or religious affiliations. We should be more like them.

Thanks for taking us along on your morning walk today. Our pups always enjoyed the cooler weather. Enjoy the balance of your day!

I'm so glad that I could still comment on this post. If they are not caught quickly, they go into never-never land where comments can no longer be made.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 11, 2020:

Thank you much friend. I needed that walk.

Here on my two blocks of neighbors there is not a single 3 houses in a row of "White Peoples". Our "mixed" family is one of about 5 close by. I just love the different cultures. One neighbor 93 and two with newborns.

Oh well the boy just got up so it is off to the kitchen.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on November 11, 2020:

So many lessons learned or gentle reminders as to how people should treat one another. Maybe, we should have the natural instinct of dogs who seem to just know who is approachable and who isn't but don't judge on appearance, religion, or political affiliation. Come to think of it I have no idea about what my neighbours vote or believe in..and I only know their first names too.. there are Roy and Peter, and I just know they and their wives seem like nice people.

Ann Carr from SW England on November 11, 2020:

Great walk, bill, and lovely to meet your neighbours, one and all!

Funny you should mention neighbours. We had a bad patch with our immediate neighbours, since moved on thank goodness. Now, after several exchanges of houses at our end of the road, we have a wonderful bunch (and down the rest of it, too, though we know those less well). We chat in the middle of the street (it's a dead-end) and help each other and talk about whatever comes into our heads. The blokes all have a common ground in that they make things, repair things, have a stock of all sorts, so that if one doesn't have something, another has. Mix and match - and that's what we do with friends. I have no idea what their religions or politics are either. I just know they're kind and pleasant people who will drop everything and help out if necessary - and we would do the same. I just hope it stays that way for many years onwards.

Hubs like these take away all the niggles that life brings at the moment and I feel content, so thank you for that, bill, Maggie and Toby!

Have a wicked Wednesday and rest of the week!

Ann

Liz Westwood from UK on November 11, 2020:

Thanks for taking us with you on your walk, with interesting topical conversation along the way.