One of my greatest pleasures in life is my morning walk. It’s Me Time. I only answer to me. I walk as long as I wish (or as long as my schedule that day will allow). I listen to music. Think. Pray. Plot. Pray that a plot point will come. You get the idea.
I have routes that take me anywhere from 20-75 minutes to accomplish. I can tell you who’s planted new zinnias or begonias in my neighborhood. When a house went on the market and how long it took to sell. Which dogs live up to the “Beware of Dog” sign—and which ones are pussycats in disguise.
I’m a writer, so by nature, I observe.
My favorite beat takes me to a park with baseball diamonds and a pathway that circles two man-made lakes. Spring is the absolute best time to be there because I see the new ducklings born and stop to feed them. Since I walk this path frequently, I have that nodding acquaintance with others who are out and about at the same time I am.
There’s the sweet couple who walk holding hands. The mom and her young home-schooled daughter who always seem to be in the midst of a lesson when we pass. The guy in his 60s who wears his Marine cap (never backwards!) and looks as lean & mean as I’m sure he did in his 20s. The two Asian ladies who both wear hats as big as houses—and their complexions always look lovely. I pass walkers, joggers, runners, and roller-bladers. People with dogs and moms pushing strollers.
But the most interesting woman I pass is a shy bike rider. She makes her way slowly along the sidewalk, stopping frequently. She’ll pedal off to the side and let others pass by while she rests. She looks to be in her mid-70s, but she could be older. It took many times of passing her and smiling before I got a return smile and a nod out of her. Nowadays, we can cross paths and I’ll say, “Good morning,” and she’ll grin back.
This woman always layers. You’d expect that in colder weather, but today it’s in the 80s and she had on long-sleeves, a sweater on top of that, a knitted watchman’s cap pulled so low on her forehead that you couldn’t even see her eyebrows, and leopard velour pants. Yes, you read that right.
Leopard velour pants.
I’ve never been one to jump on fashion trends. My wardrobe is fairly boring, consisting of mostly black, navy, and beige solids. I use scarves to liven up things with a bit of color, but I have never tried on leopard-print pants. I’ve never even thought of trying on leopard-print pants—much less ones in velour.
But there my sweet bike-riding lady had them on this morning. And she’s out there every day, plugging away. I don’t know if she rides for her health or her sanity (or a combination of the two as I do), but she is doggedly determined and a constant fixture on that path.
And I’ve decided I want to be her. I hope that in my 70s I will still be out there, pursuing my writing career with a passion. Still telling stories. Still thinking about plots and creating characters and dropping in all kinds of conflicts for them to face.
Who knows? But my fervent hope is that I’m still writing at 75 . . . and I’m doing it while rocking a pair of leopard velour pants!
In my recent historical romance release, Written in the Cards, my heroine Maggie Rutherford was a writer. She authored dime novels, traveling to the West to experience all the things she wanted to put into her books. She was feisty and funny and would be writing stories on her deathbed, trying to tell just one more tale before she passed on to her next adventure.
I believe Maggie would’ve been the first to put on leopard velour pants and wear them with pride—and a bit of sass. Maybe besides my bike-riding acquaintance, I need to take a lesson from my heroine, as well. We can learn from everyone around us—and that even includes our fictional characters.