Following Rules

As the owner of a 10 month old 60 pound puppy with inexhaustible energy, a daily walk of a couple of miles or so is an act of self-preservation. There are a couple of walking trails close to the house, and we alternate between them, more or less. 

The county where I live has a leash law for all dogs. One of the regulars at the closer of the two trails lives across the street from the trail’s parking lot and has two dogs. He uses the trail almost every day, and one of his dogs is always on a leash. The other one is never on a leash and he spends much of his time calling him to come back from whatever side trip the dog has taken.

The other trail has a regular who describes her dog as a brat, but only rarely has him on a leash. She spends a lot of time off-trail up in the woods surrounding the park, so it’s seldom an immediate issue. This morning in another part of the trail a young woman I hadn’t seen before was walking her dog off-leash. Daisy (the dog) came up to us and was doing the standard dog greeting ritual with Frankie, my dog, with the woman saying, “Daisy, Daisy! Come here!” interspersed with “Sorry, sorry.” When Daisy eventually agreed to return to her she headed toward a parked car, waving goodbye with the hand that had been holding Daisy’s leash the whole time. I’m not sure why she brought the leash along for the walk.

Although things are getting better, thank goodness, I still see a distressing number of people out in public unmasked. Almost as bothersome and equally dangerous are those who wear their masks below nose level. I mean, we’re trying to get a global pandemic under some kind of control here, and besides, we are our brothers’ keepers. 

In most areas of my life I’m a rule follower; there are a few exceptions, which I won’t go into here for obvious reasons. If it weren’t for those exceptions, I would find it intolerable that there are people in my immediate sphere who are flagrantly disregarding rules that are there for the common good. It would be easy to step onto the pedestal of self-righteous judgment. I can’t do that because of the obvious hypocrisy. 


I do wish they’d keep their dogs on a leash. 

And just wear the damn mask. 

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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