Memories and Musings: Just Roamin’ Around

Published 12:03 pm Sunday, April 19, 2020

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By Gene Gallelli

I just refused to let cabin fever force me into watching another unfunny situation comedy on TV, so I jumped up, put on my Chuck Taylors, grabbed the car keys and headed out the back door. The pollen blanketing my car’s windshield decided to move to my nose. When I finished sneezing I noticed I was three feet further away from the car door than before the sneezing started. So much for Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

Because I was wearing gloves — Yep, I was! — I used my electronic car key to not only unlock the door but to also raise the trunk door and pop open the gas cap cover. Fortunately, after obviously needed adjustments, the car started quickly and purred like a kitten (had to get a simile in here, somewhere).

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Originally, I had planned to head to Festival Park and, if people were scarce, to take several walks around the parking lot to loosen up my atrophying muscles. Once I pulled out of the driveway, the beautiful day convinced me to slowly drive around, look around, and just be around. Immediately I was struck by the unmistakable, blazing purple of blooming azaleas on lawns and along the road before I noticed a car and driver tailgating me who was probably irritated at the slowness of my travel. I considered speeding up but then changed my mind, concluding that I was being neighborly by allowing him time to enjoy the beauty of the area. I knew he appreciated my decision when he started honking his horn to thank me.

Since I was out and about and short on cash, a stop at my bank’s drive-up ATM seemed like a wise use of my outdoor time. Unfortunately, this seemingly simple task doesn’t always accommodate my failing eyesight and poor sense of distance: Will I pull in too close and scuff my tires? Will I pull in too far and not be able to reach the keypad? Will I forget my PIN and have the machine keep my card? (Did you know that if you are getting cash and take too long to retrieve it the machine sucks it back?)

Further along, I noticed empty parking lots once filled, closed stores once overflowing and people standing in line, six feet apart, before being allowed to safely enter a store. It was as if a mist of darkness, emptiness had settled in many places where sunshine once was king.

After weaving through a few “inside” streets and waving at a few familiar faces who were clearing their yards or nestled in flower beds, I decided it was time to head home for a snack and a nap. Surprisingly, I noticed and admired a few lovely homes I had never noticed before and many huge flowering Bradford pear trees (I think?) that billowed and waved in the breeze that, when I squinted, reminded me of beautiful clouds slowly dancing.

The driveway looked the same — for that I was grateful — and I heard both dogs barking when I shut the car door and happily prepared myself for a dose of unconditional love, Bella and Zero style.

All in all, during my jaunt around town, I experienced both sadness and joy but now realized that whichever one it was will always be totally up to me.

Gene Gallelli was Associate Superintendent of the Dare County Schools for eight years. He received his Doctor of Education degree from East Carolina University, where he taught and supervised students studying to become school administrators.



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