My Second Childhood – By Ron Persaud
They told me that I took a long time to learn how to walk. You will appreciate that I have to take that on faith because it was before the memory cells in my brain fired up. Since then I have done a lot of walking. I did not have my own bicycle until I was twelve, motorcycle until I was twenty-two; and my first car until I was twenty-seven.
I walked the 25 miles between Aishalton and Karaudarnawa in the South Rupununi a couple of times and many, many more miles in my time at GUYSUCO and countless steps in my (many) jobs in the USA.
Retired now, I needed to replace the physical activity that had been associated with my work. My doctor recommended walking – for an hour – daily. “I can do that”, I thought. So I started out from home and walked for half an hour, made an about turn and walked back home; presto!
The one hour walk! I chose a different direction each day and I now know all the ‘turn back’ points in each direction. I found out that my walking rate is 3 mph. My cousin Jai, who is a serious ‘walk-man’, scoffs at this; as have some other people.
So not only was I ‘slow to walk’; I also ‘walk slow’. I am not worried. My grandparents ambled and strolled most of the time but covered long distances. They walked in groups, talking – even smoking – as they wended their way to a “Jag”; or visit a sick person, in the evening. This was after they had done the same at the rice bed or farm for much of the day. And didn’t G H W Bush say that he had never seen a relaxed walker? But why take chances; I ‘googled’ walking and was surprised about how much I did not know about this everyday activity.
Apparently my style of walking was all wrong. My upper body remained quite erect and my head was quite ‘level’ (not the same as ‘level-headed’) while my legs did the ‘grunt work’. Thanks to ‘you tube’, I learned that my heels must make first contact with the terrain, that I should sort of ‘roll’ on the soles of my feet from heel to toe, thereby exercising the toe muscles and tendons. And Oh! My head should bob up and down as I walk!
You have to believe that I tried very hard to accomplish all these things; alas, I have never been any good at multi-tasking. I was taught to do “one thing at a time”. That has fitted quite well with the rest of my personality; and so I “drive now; text later”.
Then I remembered something. Tucked away among my souvenirs there should be an “IPod” – shuffle – to properly identify it. I found it, re-charged it, donned the headphones and listened to Andre Rieu, mostly. So on my next walk, I timed my steps to the beat of the ‘Radetzky March’, ‘Skater’s Waltz’ and similar music – adequate but not quite what one might call the ‘mot just’ in a written piece.
The second fortunate occurrence was a gift from my Canadian brother-in-law – a CD featuring old time calypsos by Richard Luces (see video below). I made a “working copy” on the “IPod” and now, walking has become “tramping”. Hopefully, you are old enough to remember that seasonal street event.
I heartily (pun intended) recommend walking to the calypso beat. It is a workout to satisfy the most exacting personal coach. You will get strange looks from passers-by; but they would willingly join you; if only they knew!
Above all, you will have given your vital organs a mini stress test, and pleased your spouse, doctor, parish priest etc. to varying degrees.
Who knows? You may please God Himself – an achievement to die for?
Richard Luces- Old Time Calypsoes