Day 22: To Kill A Mockingbird?

Northern_Mockingbird_USAIt’s  Day 22 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge

As I was walking today, I heard a commotion in the air above me.  Two mockingbirds were dive-bombing a raven

I stopped to watch the incredible aerial acrobatics of all three birds.  Apparently, the raven hoped to make the mockingbird’s eggs his breakfast – and the mockingbirds were mightily defending their offspring.  It took about 2-3 minutes of repeated attacks from all angles by the mockingbirds for the raven to finally give up fly away.  Score one for the mockingbirds.

Day 21: Must Love Dogs

Yesterday was Day 21 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

In our neighborhood, there is an 82-year-old man who walks his Shih Tzushih tzu dog every day.  The man has a wiry frame, but is frail looking.  His face is wrinkled and much of it is hidden by his bushy gray mustache. He always wears a white long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and khaki shorts held up by broad suspenders. His knee socks slide down around his skinny ankles and bunch at the top of his penny loafers. He tops his look with a jaunty beret.

He’s kind of a crusty old guy, and whenever his dog stops to sniff a plant or hydrant, he barks at his dog, “No,” as he tugs on the leash.

I hadn’t noticed him in the neighborhood for a while, and when I saw him today I asked why.  He said, “My dog had a heart attack 3 weeks ago, and he’s been in intensive care at the pet hospital. ”

I expressed my concern and asked, “How old is your dog?”

“Thirteen,” he replied.

I said, “He’s a pretty old dog – that’s 91 in dog years! Just goes to show that you’ve taken good care of him.”

He said, “Oh, yes.  I will do anything for him. I treat him like a child. That’s what love’s all about.”

Day 20: Walking Through Sprinklers!

It’s Day 20 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

One of the great things about early morning walks are Sprinklers!

People water their lawns and gardens in the early morning.  I love to run my hands through their sprinkler systems as I walk by – so cool and refreshing!

That made me wonder about the reasoning behind watering in the early morning.  The University of Illinois offers “Home Hort Hints” and it says, “The best time of day to water is early morning before the temperatures begin to rise. This gives the plants a good supply of water to face the heat of the day. Early morning also tends to be a time of lower winds and thus reduced evaporation. It is important to water early enough so that the leaves have time to dry before nightfall to avoid development of fungal diseases.”  To learn more click the link to visit the website.


Day 19: 4th of July Flag Walk!

It’s Day 19 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!     

Happy 4th of July!  I decided to walk early this morning to beat the heat.  As I walked, I noticed something was different in the landscape – there were American flags everywhere!   I started counting them and this is the tally:

  • 113 flags (The flags were hanging from house porches or decorating front yards.) American Flag
  • 3  HUGE flags flying from gigantic flag poles (I had never noticed these flag poles on previous walks.)
  • 4 flags flying from car antennas
  • 1 flag emblazoned across the t-shirt of a woman watering her front lawn

That’s a total of 121 flags over a 2 mile distance!  At least 1/4 of the flags I saw were badly faded and/or torn.

Did you know that since 1924 there has been a U.S. Flag Code? It’s a guide for civilians on how to properly display the national symbol of the United States of America.

You can learn all about “Proper Flag Etiquetteat the National Flag Foundation’s website. When you get to the site, look at the menu on the left side of the page to learn how to fly the flag for any event or situation.



Day 18: Shaw’s Ice Cream & Candy Walk!

It’s Day 18 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

My husband and I had to travel to San Francisco to sign some paperwork at a title company located on West Portal Avenue in the Twin Peaks area of San Francisco today.  We decided to take a “Papa Walk” through the shopping district in The West Portal neighborhood and felt like we’d entered some kind of time warp.  It reminded us of the small-town shopping areas of the late 1950s and ’60s.  There shaw'swere boutique clothing stores, a family shoe store, a small mom-and-pop pharmacy, markets with sidewalk displays of fruits and vegetables, and we even discovered two (two!) real, old-fashioned toy stores.  When was the last time you were in one of those?

The area was familiar to me, and I tried to figure out why.  Then, I saw it – the Shaw’s Ice Cream and Candy store.  Papa had taken me to that exact store when I was a little girl to buy a Thin Mint ice cream cone, while he indulged in his favorite Shaw’s ice cream flavor – Coffee.

The store was founded in 1931 by Douglas Shaw. Shaw’s expanded and built a large candy factory in Millbrae (near the San Francisco airport) and at one time boasted 50 store chains. Papa’s company did the plumbing for Shaw’s factory. Although the factory and the chain stores are no longer in operation, the original, historic store is still selling candy and ice cream today. What a nostalgic treat!


Day 17: Snake Walk!

It’s Day 16 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!

On my walk today, I noticed that the “snakes” are in bloom throughout my neighborhood!  Let me explain…

agapantha budWhen my son was about four-years-old he came running into the kitchen wearing just cartoon underwear, a yellow agapantha 3cape, red rain boots, and brandishing a toy sword. He proudly announced, “Mommy, I killed all of the snakes in the garden!”

When I went outside to see what he could possibly mean – I saw that he had chopped down all of the agapantha buds that were getting ready to bloom. With just a little imagination, the buds do look like cobra snakes poised and ready to strike.

We didn’t have the showy blue and purple agapantha blooms in our garden that summer, but I did get a memory that makes me smile every year when I see the “snakes” in bloom.  🙂

Day 16: Step on a Crack…

cracks-in-cement-sidewalk-600x400It’s Day 16 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge!   

As I was walking today, I tripped over a piece of sidewalk pavement.  It had risen higher at the seam on one side, than the other.  Tree roots had grown under the pavement and uprooted the concrete. The higher side of the concrete block was spray-painted yellow at the seam, probably to alert people to the danger and to designate it for repair.  However, I didn’t see it and clumsily tripped right over it. Once I recovered my sense of balance and dignity, I recalled a children’s taunt, “Have a nice trip?  See ya next fall!”

From that point on, I focused on the sidewalk which brought to mind the children’s rhyme:

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.
Step on a line, break your father’s spine.

That’s awful, isn’t it?  And as much as I know it’s nonsense, I tried (as I did in my youth) to step squarely on sidewalk spaces and avoid the seams and cracks.  That’s not as easy as it sounds, while trying to maintain any kind of walking pace.  I wondered about the origin of the superstition, and was surprised to find an explanation from the Busch Gardens amusement park. Just goes to show, you learn something new every day.