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Take a Long Walk

May 1, 2018

Michael Nigro
When I was a child our local Heart Association began a 50-mile walk-a-thon fundraiser. It was the longest event in the area. Being a decent athlete, my father decided to give it a shot with no training. He completed 40 miles before he could go no further and spent the next year stewing and training to ensure he completed it the next year. Although he barely made it, he did complete the walk the following year and went on to complete it for the next 14 years.

The walk became a big part of my father's life. There would be training each year (three to five-mile daily walks and occasional 20 to 30-mile weekend walks), the search for the ideal sneakers, and the constant search for a new "edge" (such as the year he tried to pickle his feet in salt and vinegar to toughen them after learning Joe Frazier had pickled his face prior to some of his fights). My father soon saw the walk as a metaphor for something more. As I child I knew what my father meant when he said he was a "50-Mile Man"… it meant he could achieve any goal through will and work and patience.

Eventually, I became old enough to walk part of the way with my father. The first time I walked the first five miles with him. The second year I made it eight miles. Each year I would make it a little farther. The strongest memories I have of those walks were of our conversations. There are few activities that lend themselves to conversation like walking. We had no radio, no devices... just hours of time to fill. We talked about life and I asked questions and learned about my father. He told stories of his family and childhood. Sometimes my father would tell me an age-appropriate version of a movie I was too young to watch (he spent over an hour telling me the story of the new science fiction he had just seen, The Terminator). Although walking never became my passion, the furthest I ever made it was 35 miles, I would never trade the time spent talking with my father on those walks.

So if you are planning to see good friend or family member and deciding how to spend your time, may I make a recommendation: consider taking a long walk.

Author: Mike Nigro
Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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