Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday in History: Saunter

There are some days when my father says, “Let’s go for a walk.” We assemble the troops and form a column: my mother and my husband in the front, various children straggling along behind them, and my father and I bringing up the rear. This separation is never intentional, but it always happens. It’s not because my mother and husband don’t like walking with my father and I, but rather because my husband has long legs, and my mother, who always walks like she’s trying to get somewhere as fast as she can, is the only one who can keep up with him. My father and I, on the other hand, just like to saunter.
We like to enjoy the walk. We look at trees and houses, admiring the architecture and foliage. That’s not to say that my husband and mother aren’t enjoying their walk; they’re just enjoying it at a rather higher rate of speed. The kids enjoy running from one set of grandparent and parent to the other and back again.
On this day in history in 1979, W.T. Rabe, a man working at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan, was getting fed up with the recent growing craze for jogging. He argued that it was much better to take a saunter on the hotel’s substantial porch. Sauntering, he argued, gave one enough time to stop and smell the roses, appreciating the various beauties of the world that one would miss if they insisted instead on dashing past them at high speeds.
And so World Sauntering Day was born.
In an interview with NPR in 2002, John Rabe, son of the man who brought this miraculous holiday into being, stated, “Those who are ‘in the know’ on Sauntering say that you’re just born with it.” It’s not hard to see who I get it from.
Hey, Dad, let’s go for a walk.

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