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I’m Walking, Yes Indeed

I recently began to develop a habit that is good for me. The Lord knows I have worked on many habits during my lifetime that weren’t all that good for me. What is this habit that I started May 19 of this year? Walking.

My doctor has encouraged me to walk for 30 minutes a day for a few years now. He says that it would be the best thing I could do for my health. I checked on the Internet, not that I doubted my doctor, but many health conscious sites said the same thing.

My health insurance company supplied me with an incentive. It sent me a pedometer to count my steps. Plus, at the end of the year, if my steps reached a certain level of faithfulness, I would receive cash on the barrelhead. That’s the real incentive!

The average person, whoever that might be, walks about 7,000 steps a day. If a person lived to be 80 years old and were average in their daily steps, that would amount to more than 100,000 miles. For all who are counting, that’s about four times around the world. Amazing, to think that in a lifetime one might walk around the world not one time, but four? Of course, we will need the Lord’s help with those oceans.

One of the great benefits of walking is the opportunity to think in silence. It reminds me of those times when I was farming and driving a tractor going around and around those fields or up and down those rows. The mind plays all kinds of games. I’ve written many songs in that atmosphere and preached my best sermons.

I was walking the other day and tried to think of all the songs that I could remember that included the words “walk” or “walking.” There were quite a few.

The first one was an old, old country song called “Walking the Floor Over You.” You have to be a true country music fan to remember that one. It was written and performed originally by the Texas Troubadour, Ernest Tubb, aka ET.

My daughter likes country music or so she says. What she means is that she likes the new country music. But if I mentioned ET to her, all she would be able to recall would be that Stephen Spielberg movie “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” But the real ET is none other than Ernest Tubb and his song about walking is a classic.

Walking regularly also reminds me of a boyhood friend who has since passed away. Buddy Slaughter was his name and he was the biggest Johnny Cash fan of all time. Buddy lived right next to us on Stagecoach Road, about 3 miles from Meigs, Ga.

He was stricken mightily by a girl in Meigs and could be seen most Sundays walking Highway 111 all the way to Meigs to visit her. All the way there and back was six miles and this was in the days before everybody had a right to a car or truck. I’m sure Buddy never walked alone as he hoofed it to Meigs. He took the spirit of Johnny Cash and “I Walk the Line” along with him. I thought of that song.

Then I thought of one of the first rock and roll stars, a mighty big man from New Orleans by the name of Fats Domino. He wrote a song called “I’m Walkin’ Yes Indeed” and he also sang another song called “Walkin’ to New Orleans” that was written for him. I remember both.

Pop music has been responsible for many songs with the word “walk” in them. One of the first was from 1962 and was sung by the Rooftop Singers. Its first line was “Walk right in, sit right down, daddy let your mind roll on.” I can remember it as if it was yesterday (and it was).

Dionne Warwick made a living singing Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs and one of her first was a great one by the name of “Walk on By” in 1964. I listened to it a few days ago on YouTube and it is still very pretty.

Another pop song that was a hit, but struck me sort of funny was one called “Walk Like a Man” by the Four Seasons. Anyone who remembers the Four Seasons will remember their lead singer Frankie Valli. The group was from New Jersey and their sound was unique because no one could match the singing ability of Valli. His high falsetto was the foundation of the Four Season’s sound.

What made this song “Walk Like a Man” sort of comical to me was that its macho title was being espoused by a man who sang with the voice of a little girl.

There’s another song from the pop era of the 1960’s that was huge. It was written by Lee Hazlewood and sung by Nancy Sinatra. I bet I don’t even have to name this one, but I will. It was “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.” That was number one hit in 1966, and I wonder just how many pairs of go-go boots were sold as a result?

I almost forgot another 60’s song with the word “walk” in the title. The word was never said, but it was in the title. Why was the word never said? Because the song was an instrumental and it was by one of the most creative and talented musical groups of all time. The song was “Walk Don’t Run” and the group was the Ventures. Many guitarists and drummers of the rock era owed their inspiration to the Ventures.

How could I forget “Walking the Dog?” Little Bit, my dog, likes that one. Then there is also “Walking after Midnight” by Patsy Cline. I never do that. And, one of the biggest show tunes of all time and one that we hear each year at the end of the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy is “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Most of the time, I do, but I guess in the spirit of that song, I don’t.

All of these songs I remember and very well. They gave me joy when I first heard them and they continue to give me joy as I think about them now.