For any old-timers reading this blog: Do you remember the Poppy Family? Not to be confused with the Partridge Family, Modern Family, or All In The Family, the Poppy Family was a Canadian band that had a few hits in the Sixties. I was never a huge fan, but I did buy one of their albums.
And I thought about using the band’s most famous song – “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” as part of the title and theme for this story.
The moment I opened my eyes to the feel of Holly’s tongue on my cheek, I was excited, and I didn’t lose the enthusiasm until later in the morning. That’s because the night before, I was wrestling with an urge to make some resolutions for the new year.
However, I’ve never kept a new year’s resolution for more than a few days – especially smoking or dieting. Even though I knew that both smoking and being overweight could kill you, I always managed to convince myself that there was still tomorrow.
But some tomorrows never come.
I haven’t smoked since 2002, and I’m no longer overweight. I quit smoking when my coughing got worse, and I started to notice blood in my spit. And I lost my weight in 2009, due to stage 3 throat cancer – I haven’t eaten solid food for eleven years. My daily meals consist of a bowl of homemade potato soup and three, plant-based protein nutrition shakes.
Yes, I wish I could eat pizza or steak – but others have it much worse than me. I had no shoes and complained – until I met a man with no feet.
So, as I looked at myself in the mirror, on New Year’s Eve, I decided to make one more attempt at making and keeping a new year’s resolution. But it would have to be something that I won’t lose interest in or get bored with, so I chose this: To walk for at least one hour, every day, regardless of the weather.
And that’s why I was excited when my dog Holly woke me on New Year’s Day. I love walking – especially with my walking club. I used to walk alone, a lot. But the more that I walked alone – the less, I enjoyed the walking.
The walk I chose was at Mill Lake, in Abbotsford, with the Abbotsford Walking/Hiking and More Group. The start time was 10:00 am.
This Meetup group has hosted a New Years’ Day walk at Mill Lake for more than a decade, and there was a waitlist. I got lucky and made it on the list, although I wouldn’t be going to the luncheon afterward.
The drive to Abbotsford took less time than I thought, and I arrived at the Seven Oaks Mall at 9:10 am. There were no other vehicles parked there yet, and I didn’t feel like sitting in my car until everyone arrived, so I began walking around the lake.
I was enjoying the walk and the Spring-like weather. I glanced at my watch and noticed that it was 9:30 am, so I turned around and quickly walked back to my vehicle. But when I got there at 9:54 am, I didn’t see anyone. I knew that the walk started at 10:00 am sharp, but I thought that maybe my watch was slow.
“Danny, didn’t you read the instructions? The START location was clearly posted on Meetup!”
No, gorgeous, men don’t read instructions.
So, I began walking around the lake again. I got excited when I noticed a crowd of people on the opposite side of the lake. “That’s where they are!” I screamed, silently to myself.
For those readers familiar with Mill Lake, I was at the short pier, by the washrooms when I noticed them. So I had to get halfway around the lake to get to them before they began the walk. If my watch was correct, I had approximately four minutes to make it about 2.5 km! Even athletes on steroids, couldn’t make it there in time, but I wasn’t thinking rationally.
When I finally got to the crowd, most of them had already left and were running around the lake! It finally dawned on me that this wasn’t a walking group – they were runners!
Now, I was getting concerned. Where are the walkers?
I decided to walk around the lake counter-clockwise, in hopes of catching up with the group. But I still couldn’t see the 32 walkers.
On my third lap, it finally occurred to me that I should try walking clockwise. It would be impossible to catch up to the group if we are all walking in the same direction. Hopefully, there would still be some of them walking – even though the walk was only scheduled for two laps (5 km).
It was a few minutes later that I recognized a lady approaching. I asked her if she was with the club walk. She said yes. I explained that I couldn’t find the group, even though I had been at the park since 9:10 am.
The gal asked me where I parked and then explained that the club didn’t use that location as the start point anymore.
“We meet at the Emerson Road parking lot because there are more parking spaces available there,” she explained.
We waved goodbye, and I decided to continue walking. I did another couple of laps and checked my Fitbit to see the total number of steps taken. It was over 16,000 steps – a great start to 2020.
Anyway, that’s how I spent my New Year’s Day.
How did you spend your day? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):