In favorable weather, I enjoy walking through the local park, feeling a fresh breeze, breathing in the scent of new-mown grass and flowers, hearing the happy cries of children in the playground, the chatter and occasional recorded music from the picnic shelters. When my family first moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, a cement road encircled the park. A few years ago, half of that road was converted into a walking path, limiting traffic.
On the afternoon of last Saturday, May 14th, the sun shone in a nearly cloudless sky, and the temperature was in the upper 60s. I told myself I would take a short walk, since I had a lot to do. But when I came upon a side trail that veered off the main path, my feet and white cane had another idea. I’d taken this trail a year or so ago, and it had led to a dead end. But this time, to my surprise, it took me up the hill I used to climb as a teenager to get to the high school. Unlike the steep, wooden boardwalk I used in the 1970s that started in the park and ended in the high school parking lot, this cement path had a gradual incline.
I told myself I should turn around, go back to the main path, and continue walking the route I’d originally planned. But if I did, not knowing where this trail went would drive me nuts. So, I kept going, despite the myriad tasks awaiting me at home.
The creek was on my right side. After walking for a few minutes, I looked across it and spotted the senior apartment complex and YMCA soccer field I often passed while walking another trail on the other side of the creek. On my left, against the side of the hill, metal benches were strategically placed. I sat on one of them while deciding whether to go on or turn back. Curiosity got the better of me.
After walking for about a quarter of a mile, I found myself, not in the high school parking lot, but on the street where the high school is located. I realized that one only needed to turn left and walk about another half a block in order to get there. At that point, I did turn around, my curiosity satisfied.
What was once the high school back in the 1970’s is now a junior high. The old boardwalk is now history. But I’m glad students can still walk through the park and up the hill to school. However, I don’t think many kids walk to school these days. But taking that stroll up Memory Hill, so to speak, made me smile, despite the fact I didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d planned to do that day.
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Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?