Parents and their kids must rediscover the joy of walking

In this image the author heads out for his first day of school at Royal Oak Elementary just outside Madrid, Spain. Image courtesy of Del Stone Sr.

I try to get up every morning and walk to the Ferry Park Fitness Trail. It’s about a mile through mostly lovely scenery and it gets me fully awake so I can face the day.

Unfortunately it takes me past Elliott Point Elementary School, which always gets my dander up. Hughes Street becomes gridlocked with tiny ladies wearing visors, their hair pulled back into cute pony tails, driving Nimitz-class SUVs. Seated next to them is an even tinier student at Elliott Point.

I see them and think back to a former neighbor. She would drive her chubby son to Elliott Point each morning, firing up the family’s thunderous Ford F-150. With gas now approaching $4 per gallon – and the “little” kid tipping the scales at 150 – wasn’t this an extravagant waste of resources?

I thought back to my childhood. When I started school I walked.  It was about a mile as memory serves. Sometimes I walked through snow, sometimes rain. I didn’t melt. I didn’t get kidnapped. I didn’t report my parents to DCF.

What’s wrong with the children – and parents – of today? I felt a blog simmering.

To confirm the distance I contacted my big sister, who’s seven years older. How far was it to our school in Spain.

Her answer? About a quarter-mile.

WHAT? Are you kidding me?

I remember a Lewis and Clark-style expedition each morning, slogging across rough terrain, fighting off wolves, wondering if I would ever reach my destination. Not a paltry quarter-mile. But she’s sure it was a quarter-mile. Which is nothing, of course.

Except there’s the “little” kid, who couldn’t walk a quarter-mile to school but would surely beat my fanny at Call of Duty.

I still think kids and their parents should be made to rediscover the joys of walking. But it looks like I’m no exemplar of that thesis … well, today I am, but not when I was a kid.

About the author:

Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”

Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.

As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.

Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, and Instagram. Visit his website at .


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *