My sister and brother-in-law suggested it to me. My friend encouraged me to look at one across the street from her. My sister-in-law helped me close the deal.
Which is why I woke up on a warm autumn Saturday morning in St. Michaels.
St Michaels calls itself a town, but it is more like a village.
Like all mornings, I gulped some tea and put leashes on my three wiggling dogs…knowing that the pink, blue and aqua colored leashes would quickly become intertwined like a maypole after a dance. I stepped outside into the warm sunshine listening to the melodies of the robins, cardinals and catbirds. The leaves from the drought littered the street and crunched underfoot. My neighbor’s twins dashed out to say good morning and pet my dogs.
As I approached the end of the block, a neighbor joined me to walk my little foster dog, Jocko. Jocko is a former puppy mill stud who lived in a tiny cage covered in excrement. I guess that you could call him a sex worker. He is afraid of a world that he doesn’t recognize. My neighbor is helping him, so she took his leash and we headed for the nature trail.
A few trail walkers stopped to chat and pet my dogs. After my walk, other neighbors on my street were starting their day and we shared good mornings.
It was a Saturday, which meant the farmer’s market was open, so I dropped off the dogs, untangled the leashes and cycled along the nature trail to the market.
The market was filled with live music, people, dogs and children milling around. The smells were too enticing, so I purchased a freshly baked pastry; scratching off today for my diet. Cleo, who runs an organic farm eagerly showed off her produce. I purchased a couple bunches of radishes and some tomatoes. My body doesn’t like radishes, but they just looked so good.
I filled another bag with brightly colored apples, local eggs, bread, darkly colored greens and warm yellow sunflowers. Ugh, I did it again, my bags were too full and my basket too small, and the apples spilled into the street.
I wobbled onto the street, a couple of residents smiled, and we exchanged good mornings.
Heading back home, I noticed that a local church was having a barbecue. The smell was too irresistible, so I bought some chicken for lunch later. By now my bike basket was unable to contain my purchases, so while we chatted the church members rustled up another bag for me to hang on my handlebars.
With a smile and a wave, I slowly returned home.
Yesterday afternoon I took my dogs out for a walk. My neighbor grabbed a leash and a neighborhood boy joined us, three generations walking down the nature trail.
A passerby remarked, “What a lovely family.”
Angela Rieck, a Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.