Where everyone knows your name

2.5 mile marker

The morning regulars are out early, up before the sun. Some habitués are jogging, a few are on bikes, but most are walking,  moving briskly through our quiet neighborhood. After months of daily perambulation, I’ve come to recognize my fellow ramblers.

On the curve along the marina, I pass Julia and Carol. We have our own Harley-chick flash signs – a low, flick of a wave. They notice when I miss a day, and chide me for being a slacker.

At the intersection, I exchange a silent, upward chin nod with David, the still buff former high school football hero. The way he runs, with his head cocked to the right, it’s easy to imagine he is reliving that epic touchdown he made in ’79 to win the state championship.

The retired couple who live two streets over, Gary and Nancy, are out for a stroll with shih-poo sisters, Trixie and Belle. The girls strain against their leashes until I kneel on the asphalt to schmooze with them, scratching their curly bellies. Their shedding hair sticks to my sweat-drenched arm.

Pete and Carl, pedaling through the neighborhood on their tandem bike, break off their discussion of world events long enough for a chipper, “good morning.” I marvel at the bromance that brought them together on a Schwinn Tango.

I’ve known Jo and Charlie for ages. On the path between our houses, Jo and I pirouette to walk backwards when we meet so we can exchange pleasantries and not break our stride.

Cassie runs like a marathoner with even strides, head up, arms strong. I can just about catch the words of the music streaming through her headphones. She smiles when she sees me. Not the superior smirk of a superior athlete, but one of a teammate recognizing my efforts are as worthy as hers, even if they are less intense.

At the 2.5-mile turn-around, I greet the Nguyen Twins. Rain or shine, the eldest, Uchong, carries an umbrella, and Anh always wears her neon pink, bejeweled ball cap. There is a faint scent of soap and gardenia as they pass. The waft of aroma I leave in my wake is not so sweet.

Turning down my street, less than a block from my home, I see Ms. Garner and Buster. A retired elementary school teacher, she still has that easy cadence to her speech from talking to children for so many years. We agree on how hot and humid it is, and hope for a break from the afternoon rains. Her little scottie wraps his lead around her legs, trying to hide from me. Waving good-bye, she untangles Buster and picks him up, then sets out on her morning constitutional while I finish mine.

A wave and a smile
Making great strides, heart pumping
Team player, five-miles

NaBloPoMo badge August '14
8/31 – Greeting
Submitted to Haiku Friday for LouCeeL

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