It was 5:30 in the morning and I had just slipped into jeans and a shirt so I could take the dogs on their morning walk around the neighborhood. Now I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, trying to do something about my hair.
The hair on the sides (the only place I have hair) was sticking straight out. I obviously had slept on it wrong.
I looked a lot like Clarabell from the 1950s TV show, “Howdy Doody.” The Peanut Gallery always sang that little song about his “fuzzy, wuzzy” hair.
If you’re like my wife and have no idea who Clarabell is, think Ronald McDonald, a sort of modern-day copy.
Anyway, water and a comb were having no effect on the fuzzy, wuzziness.
“What are you worrying about? It’s dark outside and you won’t be running into anyone,” Jenny said, hurrying to get ready to leave for school.
“That’s not true; I always meet people on the walk,” I said.
She gave me that look. You husbands know the one I mean; it’s the “you-don’t-really-think-I’m-going-to-believe-that?” look. She had been on dozens of lonely, early-morning dog walks in our former neighborhood in Florence, Ala. We never encountered a soul, unless we counted the occasional rabbit.
And Jenny joins me for our late-afternoon dog walk (yes, our spoiled dogs get two) and we don’t meet many people in the steamy heat. Usually, just a Spanish-speaking woman with her two young children. They get really excited when they see us and ask their mother it they can “pet the perro.”
Fortunately, our perro, especially little Huey, likes to be petted.
It’s all different in the morning. There’s a whole early-morning world out there in our New Albany neighborhood. Unless you’re out before it gets light, you wouldn’t know.
Let’s see. There are the two young women riding bicycles.
Sometimes I meet them two or three times making the neighborhood circle. With two dogs on leashes, each wanting to stop and smell each mailbox post, my trek doesn’t go as quickly as theirs.
There’s the lady from the bank who always seems to be winding up her morning walk just as we are starting ours.
And there’s the man who lives on the next street, who wears a Carolina Tar Heels cap most of the time. I asked if he had gone to school there. He said no; he had had a traveling job and people had given him lots of caps.
As if to emphasize the point, the next day he was wearing a Duke Blue Devils cap. But soon it was back to the Tar Heels’ Carolina blue.
And then there are the two women who are serious walkers. They move at a pace that makes me tired just to watch them.
They slowed down one morning to ask me how our son Joe was doing in Memphis. They said they had read about Joe starting at Rhodes College in one of my newspaper columns.
One of the women said she had worked at the college for many years before moving to New Albany.
It’s a small world at 5:30 in the morning. It’s a good thing I slicked down that hair.
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.