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Power walk: hubby's strategy to render his dear wife's baby fat leaves him exhausted and three pounds lighter.

Hubby's strategy to render his dear wife's baby fat leaves him exhausted and three pounds lighter.

"Dr. Louis Sullivan and his wife power walk three miles a day," I said to my own dear wife through a hole in the morning paper where I had clipped the address of Credit Cards Anonymous.

To no surprise, she recognized Dr. Sullivan as our popular Secretary of Health and Human Services. What surprised me was that she had been listening. And for surprise number two, she peeked through the hole and said, "Why don't we give it a shot?" And even rambled on, something about my excess weight, my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and my bad temper.

What I had in mind, of course, was doing something about the persistence of her own baby fat. I also had noticed that Brutus, my dog, had cut his exercise regimen from jumping fences to picking up fleas.

"I can't power walk in high heels," was dear wife's first complaint.

"Imelda Marcos would envy your collection," I pointed out, to no avail. So it was off to Spencer to buy a pair of power walkers. After she'd talked me into a pair too, the total bill came to $84.60. Poor Brutus would have to wear what he had.

On our Big Four road, anything more than a school bus and maybe a pickup at the same time is considered a traffic jam. Without fear of traffic, we thus could walk briskly a half-mile to the curve and the half-mile back, giving us a grand total, for starters, of one mile of brisk walking. Right? As I pointed out to dear wife and Brutus when descending the driveway, unless we walk briskly we might as well remain on the couch with our feet on the coffee table. (Actually, Brutus remains on the couch only when we're away, and we have yet to catch him with his feet on the coffee table.)

The reason we got off to a relatively slow start could be laid to my having noticed on a recent visit to Washington that most joggers carried weights in their hands. Assuming that this was to exercise their arms rather than for self-defense, we had stopped by the shed. For dear wife I chose a gallon can of antifreeze and my tool kit, while I took on the sledge hammer and the hydraulic jack. With Brutus running ahead, we made it clear to the road and perhaps 30 feet beyond before deciding that we would postpone the exercising of our arms until our legs had been perfectly toned.

Once the weights had been deposited, we really hit our stride. All the way to the big maple tree. After we dragged Brutus away from there, he took off through the brush on the other side of the road with his nose to the ground. Five minutes later we heard that urgent bark he has indicating he has just treed a moose.

While my other companion waited, I followed the racket down swales and over dales, through Canadian thistles, poison sumac, and thickets of briars to where I came upon Brutus happily excavating a hole that had been dug by the grandson of the woodchuck that had walked off the Ark. He was glad to see me. I tried to keep in mind that he reportedly is my best friend as I power walked him back to the road and back to the house-where we later found him on the couch.

On my return, I found dear wife coming up the drive. Power walking her back to the road, we really now went into high gear. Just the two of us, man and wife, homo and sapien, chins up (that's one for me, two for her), setting out to overcome flab, cholesterol, blood pressure, and all other obstacles to health, home, longevity, the flag, Mom's apple pie, and all good stuff like that.

I had somehow failed to remember, however, that ours wasn't the only dog along the road.

One of the Millers' dogs had been named Little Henry because his deceased father had been crossed, or double-crossed, by a Shetland pony. Little Henry, however, was little no longer. In fact, when he put his paws on my shoulders, I noticed that we were about the same height. While I was trying to unload the beast, Baxter, the Abrells' dog, came up to greet us.

Baxter is a basset hound, one of those dogs said to be born under a bureau-they can't grow up, so they grow long. Little Henry got down off my shoulders to prove his dominance over Baxter. Dukes, Miller's three-legged dog, seized the opportunity to get in a few licks for himself (leaving us to speculate that Baxter might have been making fun of his handicap).

To me, this was a normal everyday doggie free-for-all. When it was over they would all go off together to tree a moose. But dear, compassionate wife, of course, had to wade into the melee to straighten things out. By the time she had got Little Henry tied up and patched up the relationship with Duke and Baxter, I was asking myself if that $84.60 might not have been better applied on a treadmill.

But at last we were off again, man and wife, etc., lowering our cholesterol, loosening the steam valve on our blood pressure, and "larding up the land," to quote a humor writer by the name of Shakespeare. We might even have powered our way past Abrell's house without stopping had not dear wife noticed that both the sun and a half-moon were in the sky at the same time.

"How come?" she said, stopping to gaze skyward. "The moon is lighted by the sun, right?" That's right, I said. "Then why isn't all the moon lighted? You took astronomy so tell me that." So I told her. (I would tell you but you probably wouldn't understand it; I wasn't sure of it myself.) Anyway, by the time we got started again I had ground my teeth down to where I might never be able to eat corn on the cob again.

At least we now had clear powering all the way to the bend in the road, our turn-around spot. Oh, yeah? Not when Abrell's "cute" white-faced steers are in the corral. And, oh, look! One is coming up to the fence to be petted. When the cute beast stopped short of the fence ("the poor thing is a little shy"), dear wife, of course, had to open the gate and make the final approach.

How far we and Baxter and Duke chased those four cute capering critters before finally getting them penned in Strouse's barnyard, I can only guess. And I'm conservatively guessing about four miles. Doug Dyer trucked them back to Abrell's corral for a mere 25 bucks.

On our way home, my dear wife's bad knee went out.

"I'll get the wheelbarrow," I politely offered.

"Don't be silly," she said.

"How about the garden cart?"

She didn't answer.

With her arm around my neck, we began our debilitated walk homeward, appearing to all the community that I was bringing my wife home from an all-night bash.

Power walking a mile should be completed in, I believe, something like 10 minutes. We made it in an hour and a half.

The good news is I lost three pounds. What my blood pressure might register, is another matter. In my current frame of mind, it's best not to know.
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Title Annotation:humor
Author:Stoddard, Maynard Good
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Words:1258
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