#writephoto — The Long Walk

34416887-00AC-41B3-BFF4-821FF8F185D9Eric stopped, lowered his large backpack onto the surface of the road, and took a sip of water from his water bottle. His gaze followed the road that led across the valley toward the foothills in the distance. He looked at his Apple Watch to check his progress. It had clocked 28,321 steps for the day so far. At his stride, that equated to about 13.6 miles. His goal was 20 miles a day and he felt pretty damn good about his prospects for hitting today’s daily target. Less than six and a half miles to go. Piece of cake.

Five Days Earlier…

“You’re doing what?” his daughter, Shana, said when he first told her and her brother, Jesse, about his plans.

“Dad, you’re 67 years old,” Jesse said. “What are you trying to prove?”

“I’m trying to prove that I’m alive, son,” Eric said. “Ever since your mother passed last summer, I’ve been kind of lost, my life without purpose, without meaning. I’ve always been driven by a sense of accomplishment and if I don’t set a goal for myself and work toward achieving that goal, I might as well just roll over and die, too.”

“But Dad,” Shana said, “don’t you think this plan of yours is a bit extreme?”

“Walking 20 miles a day is not extreme,” Eric said. “I used to walk almost that much nearly every day when our dog was still alive.”

“Bandit died ten years ago, Dad,” Jesse pointed out.

“Listen, I’m going to do this and I’d appreciate your support, you two,” Eric said.

“You’re a stubborn old man,” Shana said, “but of course you have our support. Whatever you need, Dad.”

“Thank you, honey,” Eric said. “What about you, Jesse?”

Jesse rolled his eyes and nodded his head. “When are you planning to leave?” he asked.

“On Monday,” Eric said.

“And how long will it take?” Shana asked.

“If all goes according to plan, between five and six months,” Eric said. “That assumes I can consistently log around twenty miles a day.”

“Has anyone your age ever done anything like this before, Dad?” Shana asked.

“I don’t know, sweetheart,” Eric answered, “but I’m not trying to set or break any records. I’m doing it because I need to do something challenging and different.”

“Well, Dad,” Eric said, “I’d say that a 67 year old man walking from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine will satisfy both.”

Written for this week’s Thursday Photo Prompt from Sue Vincent.

Sunday Writing Prompt — Fuhgeddaboudit

34DCC9D3-27D1-4D90-993B-561EA80AC8E1For this week’s Sunday Writing Prompt from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, the challenge is to try something new. Like using a different medium for your creative expression, tackling a new and perhaps controversial topic, challenging one of your own fears and writing about the experience, or stepping outside of your comfort zone. You get the idea, right?

Well here’s what I have to say about that: fuhgeddaboudit. Why would I want to do that? I’ve challenged myself my entire life. Now it’s time to relax. I’ve earned it. Listen, I’m an old guy, a septuagenarian. I like things the way they are. And I’m actually quite comfortable in my comfort zone. I neither want to nor need to change.

Besides, I do challenge myself with my blog. I post between three and six times a day. I respond to word prompts, to photo prompts, to some of these crazy Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie prompts. I even host my own daily word prompt.

I regularly post my thoughts, observations, and perspectives on what is going on around me. I read what other bloggers have to say and often comment on their posts. I respond to comments that others have made on my posts.

And I also have other activities of daily living that I have to manage, ranging from walking the dog multiple times a day to chores around the house to keeping my wife happy to paying the bills and to reading books and watching TV.

Seriously, the last thing I need right now is to take on any new challenges. This old dog doesn’t want to learn new tricks.

Killing Me Softly

So Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, tagged me in a challenge to select nine “killer pieces of music” that you could murder by, and to then tag three other bloggers.

Seriously? Music to murder by? I have never even thought about murdering someone, much less what music I’d choose to accompany the act.

That said, I’ll open up the darker side of my imagination and see what I can come up with. But first, here are my tags:

Jim Adams over at A Unique Title For Me
Roger Shipp at It’s All In Finding the Right Words
Paula Light at Light Motiffs II

Okay, here are my nine songs to murder by.

FOWC with Fandango — Challenge

FOWCWelcome to October 19, 2018 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “challenge.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

Back Where I Come From — Playing Catch-up

Suzanne McClendon’s September Challenge is comprised of 30 questions (one per day) regarding your background and history. As an anonymous blogger, I didn’t think I wanted to participate because I thought the questions were somewhat intrusive.

However, after seeing a few other bloggers participating in this challenge and reading their posts, I thought it was fun to learn about of their backgrounds.

But I figured it’s already one-third of the way through the month and I’ve not responded to any of the prompts, so I missed the proverbial boat. Besides, no one cares where I came from.

Then I thought why not? So today I’m going to play catch-up and respond to the first 11 “somewhat intrusive” questions in a single post. Ready?

Day 1: Were you raised in the town in which you were born? Where were you raised?

No, I was born in a Boston suburb, but was raised in the DC area.

Day 2: Were either of your parents raised in your hometown? If not, how did they end up there?

No. My parents were both immigrants who came to the US as young adults. We moved to the DC area from Massachusetts when my father took a job there. I was five.

Day 3: Were you raised in a town/city or in a rural area? Do you live in the same type of place now?

I’ve always lived in or near relatively large cities, as I do now.

Day 4: What were your hobbies as you were growing up?

Collecting baseball cards and comic books, playing baseball, riding my bicycle, and hanging out with my buddies.

Day 5: Where did all the kids “hang” in your hometown?

The mall, of course. Or the recreation center. Or the bowling alley. Or the car hop area at the local Hot Shoppes restaurant. Or the community pool during the summers.

Day 6: Did your town have a river running through or near it? What was its name?

The Potomac River.

Day 7: Did you ever participate in creating graffiti or any type of artwork that would have been confrontational?

I was a doodler. I would often doodle caricatures of my fellow students or teachers. It was only confrontational when I got caught doodling by my teachers, particularly if any of my doodles were of the teachers who caught me.

Day 8: How old were you when you took your first drink of alcohol, if you ever have? What were the circumstances surrounding that moment?

I was probably about 8 or 9. My parents had gone out with a couple from out of town who were visiting us and one of their kids was an older girl about 12 years old. After our parents left the house, she suggested that we taste some of the wine that my parents kept in their dining room buffet. We did. And the two of us got quite snockered after polishing off almost the entire bottle of wine. My parents were not happy about it.

Day 9: Do you plan to move back to your hometown area in your older years? Why or why not?

Nope. If anything, I’ll move to an isolated spot near the ocean where I can sit on my porch and listen to the surf breaking on the rocks.

Day 10: How do you feel about the place that you came from?

The DC area? I now associate DC with politics, hypocrisy, dysfunction, and dishonesty. That said, it is a beautiful city.

Day 11: Were there a lot of churches in your hometown? What about where you live now?

Not nearly as many as there are where I live now. There are more churches than there are Starbucks around here. By an order of magnitude.

Okay, I’m going to try to keep up with Suzanne’s September Challenge prompt going forward. See you tomorrow for Day 12.