CHEAHA: Page Seven


I’m sure the state park people who built this beautiful, railed boardwalk didn’t anticipate corona virus, but the frequent rest spots with benches off to each side made it easy to step aside when people passed, and most everyone, including us, took advantage of that feature.

Having a dog with you, especially one as cute as Gracie (at least in my prejudiced opinion)), is a great conversation starter, even when you must remain six feet away from whoever speaks to you. When TOR and I reached Bald Rock, which cropped out a good six feet below our vantage point on the boardwalk, it wasn’t bald at all. A family was picnicking right out on the edge. The sun was shining, and they were, like us, enjoying an incredible valley view spread out below.

Soon two young sisters in that family spotted Gracie panting, wagging what’s left of her tail, and looking down at them. Governor Ivey never declared dogs subject to the six-foot rule, so it was probably fine for the girls to jump up, reach up, and pet Gracie, which is just what she was waiting for. However, the older of the two sisters quickly reminded the younger of her manners. “You’re supposed to ask first!” she said.

TOR is not only the less hesitant of the two of us, she is also the more gregarious in any given situation. This is a good thing, and I’ve learned a lot over the years of our friendship by listening to the fascinating conversations she launches with perfect strangers anywhere we go.

“Don’t bother those ladies,” the mother on the rock cautioned as we began talking, but TOR called down to assure that she, not the girls, had started the conversation. What followed was a delightful, “socially distanced,” multi-generational visit.

“We have four dogs,” they told us. “Two inside, two outside.” When TOR explained that we are both named Ruth, they thought that was really strange.

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