Taking a Walk - Exploring your Youth and your Inside and Outside Worlds - Here is a Game You Can Play - Meet My Friend John
You’ll never know what you will uncover, discover and the friendships you’ll strengthen when you “Take a Walk”. This exercise will certainly enhance the art of conversation. Who knows, this could replace “texting”?
Taking a Walk
My pet expression “Take a Walk” is a metaphor for mentally exploring your youth or past for good and positive memories, snippets, images that pop into your mind, flashbacks, like pictures falling out of an overstuffed photo album. You pick it up and say “I remember that. Wasn’t that a good or defining time in my life?” It could also be a memory that you would like to have in the future. In my prison ministry, I use this exercise to get my inmate friends to reminisce and think positive. I say, “For your homework for our next session, walk out the door of your house or apartment as a kid. Go down the walkway and turn right or left at the sidewalk and walk around the block. Think about things you see on your excursion. Or, think about any good memories from your childhood or youth. You may remember things you have totally forgotten. Recalling good memories or ones you would like to have, is a way of starting a habit of looking for the positive, filling up your photo album, and creating hope in your life.”
My friend John, who is immortalized in my story “Mirror Talk” in my newest memoir Inside and Outside, said at the restaurant last night that he had been thinking about my volunteer prison program and the exercise “Take a Walk”. He said it would make a good parlor game. Every body would be asked to think of about four good nostalgic things or images in their past. The participants would take turns, one at a time, telling their little stories, snippets and flashbacks. As they were told, the other participants might be reminded of even a better short tale to tell. After making the rounds, the participants could vote on the best stories.
As our wives talked on about the things they always talk about, John and I started reciting our little remembrances (painting pictures with words, another one of my favorite expressions). I talked about the tar bubbles that grew on the side of the street on a bright hot summer day before they invented blacktop, when they used tar and gravel and a steam roller for re-surfacing the rural roads. The tar bubbles were full of hot water, which when poked with a finger or stick, would emit a jet of liquid and steam as the bubble collapsed. John talked about his childhood fear, and the incessant teasing he endured, of crossing a hot concrete road in Georgia in his bare feet. The conversation turned to the movie “10” with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek and the beach scene with old duffers, drinks in hand, being ferried piggyback from the resort hotel lobby to beach chairs at the water’s edge across the scalding hot volcanic sand. It felt so good to ruminate on these images. It turned into a long evening. A first! Last night, I think we actually out talked our wives.