There are different ways to get places, but when I was a kid, it was predominantly the shoe leather express, minus the leather. It was rubber and canvas tennis shoes in those days.
Even with only legs and feet to carry us, we still had different routes to choose to get to school. We never took the long way, the civilized routes cluttered with sidewalks and crosswalks.
We took short cuts. Even if it meant having to go by ol’ man Hatchet’s house. Word was, he hacked up kids with his Hatchet… but he’d have to catch us first.
The well-worn path through thickets, bamboo, gnarly trees, and golden weeds eventually dumped us out close to the elementary school.
The problem with trails is that they’re not always the most direct route. Plus, if they’re there it means they were blazed by someone else.
Davy and I used our tennis shoes like road graders; shuffling, kicking, filling our socks with stickers. It took time, kicking up dust every day, arriving at school just in time and filthy, but eventually we had our own trail, dangerously close to ol’ man Hatchet’s, but trailblazers can’t be faint of heart… or have clean shoes and socks.
Sometimes in life, we don’t set out to blaze trails. The stars align or Divine intervention arranges our meeting with destiny. Sometimes it’s a wooded field, sometimes it’s a business, a mission field, or even a blank piece of paper.
Blazing a new trail has a couple of benefits; one is the gratification that comes from the grueling process. The other is the advantage it brings to others, folks that gain from our endeavor.
I guess it was my mom that passed on her love of books to me. Maybe part of it was all the reading they made me do when I was a kid trying to help me overcome my speech impediment. Either way, I didn’t come to the place where a new path begins by myself.
Long before she could talk, my youngest sat on my lap as I read her books, pointing at pictures and words. She’d look up at me, wide-eyed in wonder, smitten with the magic of words.
Her second assignment in her college writing class was to write about a place. She picked an arcade, but not just any arcade, she wrote about “our” arcade. The place she and I spent countless hours, tokens, and laughs.
My daughter poured out her heart and soul, using the assignment as partial therapy to cope with being away from home… and a dad she sorely missed, but maybe not as much as he does her. She wrote it for me too.
My daughter’s writing, even being objective, is beyond her years.
I’m blazing a new trail, learning the business of writing from the dark side that not many people see. Whether I end up being published traditionally or not, I’ve been gratified by the hard work.