Streetwalking in Welland

A voyage of discovery

(Tribune August 2006)

Do I look like a dork?

The question was addressed to my wife. It was early on a summer Sunday morning, and, out of the blue, I decided it was time to take a long walk. I put on a tee shirt, my Tilly shorts, a pair of rarely used walking shoes, and a pair of woolly socks. Identification was in my pocket, along with my cell phone. I carried a bottle of water.

Noreen just looked at me. She did not need to verbalize her answer.

The sidewalks in this part of town are in good shape, and I was soon meeting other walkers of my vintage coming towards me. These were pretty serious walkers, offering only a curt good morning without a break in pace. Most were also dressed like dorks.

I soon discovered that you see things when you walk that you never notice when you drive. I found a whole new world.

A neighbour down the street is building a new garage. Eight oíclock on a Sunday morning and a full crew is hard at work on the construction. And I mean a garage! This is a real "guy" building, a structure the rest of us always dream about. Lots of room for two cars and a full workshop. Think my wife would let me build one like it on our property? Probably not.

Some folks have lawns that are out of Better Homes and Gardens. Not a weed or a bare spot - pieces of art. Others yards, how do I put thisÖneed work. Now my own lawn is not the best in the world, and maybe there are circumstances where lawns are not a high priority. But nice lawns really make you proud of your neighbourhood. I must try harder with mine.

I found a small sailboat for sale in front of one house. Boat, trailer, probably a sail, all for eleven hundred bucks. Always pictured myself in one of those. Guess I would have to take a sailing course. Maybe next year. The summer is almost over.

We need more good sidewalks in Welland. There is a gravel path along First Avenue, but the footing is a bit dicey. The best use of City tax dollars is to build desirable infrastructure that will last for a long time. Good concrete sidewalks are a prime example. I should call my member of council. Heck, I donít even know who that is. Matter of fact, Iím not even sure what ward I live in. Got to start paying attention to that stuff.

I turned onto Niagara Street. I usually whiz down that street in my truck and do not look at the scenery.

There is a small mall where Canadian Tire used to be. Interesting mix of tenants. One place will give you fast cash, a second will give you a mortgage, and a third will manage your wealth. Sort of all things for all people.

One paint store uses the word "colour" in its name, but spells it without the "u." I suppose that saves money when you have to repaint the sign.

I wandered through the Ford lot, looking at price tags. Itís OK Noreen, I was just looking!

The hydro people have put a plastic collar on the utility pole at the corner of Woodlawn and Niagara. It is labeled with a notice. If you want to post a sign, you are asked to attach it to the plastic collar. Good idea. If you canít beat Ďem, join Ďem.

Passing an apartment building, I noticed a sign about an available vacant suite. It also stated, "Applications are being accepted." Just like those gated communities in Florida!

Some young guy came riding his bicycle down the sidewalk towards me. He showed no indication he was going to slow down or give up space so I stepped off the sidewalk to let him pass. If I had a big stick I would have gotten his attention. Good thing I didnít. Pastor Dan would not have approved.

There seems to be a lot of trash along Woodlawn Road. Folks tend to blame this on the college students. I do not know if this is fair, but if it is, I have a solution. Go down to the Lincoln and Welland Regiment and ask to borrow their meanest and toughest Company Sergeant Major. Put the CSM in charge of mandatory trash pickup for the college students for a couple of weeks and the problem will disappear.

My walk took about 90 minutes but I never opened my bottle of water. Itís not that I wasnít thirsty; itís just that I knew if I took in water, I would have to locate a big bush before I got home. Not acceptable behavior on the sidewalks of Welland. I could get arrested.

I do not get enough exercise and I know I should start to walk on a regular schedule. I should think about that.

I will think later. Right now, I really need a nap.

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