Sun 5/24/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Girls and flags Erin and Shannon's father, John, took time out from re-siding this house on King Street this morning to nail up an American flag in celebration of Memorial Day. While the girls wave to me, their dog, Seamus, peeks out the window.

ike many familes in our neighborhood, John, his wife, Sherie, and their daughters will spend part of the holiday tending their homes and gardens. New Englanders are famous for their frugality, and with the economy ailing this year, a lot of us would sooner catch up on our work than run around spending money.

You can tell these are children of Baby Boomers. Erin wears a Peace and Justice T-shirt; Shannon, a hot-pink sweatshirt that she picked up while visiting the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Elsewhere on my walk today, I met children racing bikes and scooters, waved to half-a-dozen motorcyclists, smelled broiling steaks and burgers, heard horseshoes clanging, and felt a blessed sunshine on my head and a refreshing breeze at my back.

As I walked down Middle River Road, I spied a white-haired man of about 80 shuffling out to his mailbox. I stopped and asked him, "Are you a vet, too?"

"You betcha!" he said, shaking my hand.

Ronnie (that was his name) stood at the curb for a few minutes while we compared notes on our military service. He served in the Army in Germany in the early 1950s; I was an Air Force computer technician in the late 1960s.

Like many vets these days, we both complained that our troops haven't been getting a fair shake lately. After bidding Ronnie goodbye and continuing my walk, however, I did some fresh thinking on this.

Today's troops are better paid than we were. My take-home in 1969 was $42 a month, which in today's dollars would be $230—slightly lower than the per-capita income of India. (I got free housing and meals, though. Those would raise me to the spending power of a Pole or a Hungarian.)

As a Vietnam-era vet, I got even less respect when I returned home than today's servicemen and women do: Although the government required my former employer to restore my job as a newspaper reporter, six weeks later, during a slump in ad sales, the paper laid me off expressly to save a newer reporter's job. He wasn't a vet. (I can't believe I didn't make a legal issue of this.)

Finally, although the GI Bill helped me finish college, it covered only a small fraction of my tuition. Today's educational benefits are much stronger.

I'm not complaining, mind you. Money and respect weren't the most important things I gained from the military, anyway. The Air Force taught me self-discipline, teamwork, and above all, the relentless pursuit of excellence. Those are priceless.


Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my neighborhood in Danbury, Connecticut. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Saturday, May 23: Memorial in a Rusty Hinge

Friday, May 22: The Sexually Clever Iris

Thursday, May 21: Raising the Wrong Baby

Wednesday, May 20: An Old Friend Is Dying

Tuesday, May 19: Crow vs. Hawk

Monday, May 18: Yours Truly

Sunday, May 17: A Wild Geranium

Saturday, May 16: War Flowers

Friday, May 15: A Mysterious Barn

Thursday, May 14: Who Invented the Microscope?

Wednesday, May 13: The Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, May 12: Slow Down!

Monday, May 11: What Lilacs Are For

Sunday, May 10: Mama Butterfly

Saturday, May 9: Gone to Seed

Friday, May 8: A Pack of Boston Terriers

Thursday, May 7: Underground Passage

Wednesday, May 6: White Violet

Tuesday, May 5: Singing His Heart Out

Monday, May 4: Kenny's Secret

Sunday, May 3: Monument to an Afternoon

Saturday, May 2: Gasoline Rainbow

Friday, May 1: The Duck and the Bashful Maiden

Thursday, April 30: A Poison Ivy Sandwich

Wednesday, April 29: The Very Picture of Spring

Tuesday, April 28: A Busy Bumblebee

Monday, April 27: Electric Pink

Sunday, April 26: Saturday Night Special

Saturday, April 25: An Old Oak Falls

Friday, April 24: How an Ant Sees a Daffodil

Thursday, April 23: The Nameless Brook

Wednesday, April 22: Weeding Time

Tuesday, April 21: Wet Apple Buds

Monday, April 20: Mr. Allen and the Crew Team

Sunday, April 19: Bloodroot II

Saturday, April 18: Green Jellybeans

Friday, April 17: Bloodroot

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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