Hubby spent the whole weekend on the couch with his left leg elevated, the toasty heating pad performing a grizzly bear hug on his knee. By late Sunday night, the poor thing still looked kinda puffy. We immediately looked at each other and said in unison, “I wonder if we should have applied ice, instead of heat.” It was a lot too late to know by then. Rick called it his “brisk walk injury,” which he acquired early on Saturday morning. I usually head out with him for our two-mile fast stroll on the neighborhood greenbelt trail. Having no illusions, we are trying to get in some sort of meager physical shape for a major “walking” vacation across Rome later this year. But now that our son, Ricky, is away at college, we don’t have anyone to keep an eyeball peeled on our special needs daughter. It is why I stayed behind, and basically, wasn’t there to head off the dumb thing that was bound to happen. The Festus-from-Gunsmoke limp was a dead giveaway when Rick entered the back door a short time later. “I was walking along at a fairly fast clip and feeling awfully good about myself. Then this very pregnant lady sprinted right past me from behind,” Rick said in disbelief. “Did she trip you? Is that why you’re limping? How come I don’t see any blood?” I inquired, heading for the first aid supplies. “No, I didn’t fall. She left me in the dust,” Rick said slightly dejected. This is a guy that actually isn’t in bad shape. Nope. Just hasn’t exercised much … for about the past 10 years. You know the type, way too busy makin’ a living. His sparse spare time is spent with remodeling projects around the house. I’m guessin’ that kind of exercise probably couldn’t be categorized as any kind of serious cardio workout to speak of. “It wasn’t five minutes later that a guy about 80 years old RAN past, this time coming from the opposite direction,” continued Rick, a weekend jogger in his youth. Obviously, it was the toothpick that punctured the camel’s hump. Who could blame the guy for breaking out in a sprint the rest of the way home? I asked my friend, Moni, who is a runner extraordinaire, if she knew what could have happened to his knee. “Does he have good running shoes?” Moni asked. “Nope. They are really old. I’ve been trying to get him to buy a new pair probably since our youngest child was born almost 21 years ago,” I answered. I don’t know, maybe some good shoes would have prevented his injury. But the guy seriously hates to shop. It makes him nauseous. Just to be on the super safe side, I take one of those airline barf bags in my purse whenever I think we might remotely happen to hit the mall together. Still, I’ve been on the verge of nagging for the past year about how he needs to go shopping for some good walking or running shoes. Our oldest daughter, Katie, took me to Whole Earth Provisions on South Shepherd several months back. You ought to see my cool tennie runners. I was so proud of my new shoes, I asked the store clerk if it would be OK to wear them home. Made me feel just like when I was a little kid and my mom bought her brood our new penny loafers. I even took our son there after Christmas for a spiffy traveling backpack for his study abroad trip. The place also has really cool stuff for camping and traveling. Ricky is a lot like his dad … not the greatest shopper, but after a promise to take him to lunch afterward, he was most eager to cooperate. Maybe a food bribe would work on his dad. By Tuesday, the knee was much better. Hubby is walkin’ much more like Marshall Dillon than hop-along Festus. We still don’t know if we shoulda emptied the ice bucket on his knee, or just gone straight for the heating pad. I gotta remember to look that up on the Internet the next time the guy heads out the door for one of those brisk walks. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past twelve years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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