Sometimes, fate dictates that before you take one – or a million – steps forward, you have to take a step back.
So was the case last Thursday, two days before taking my first official strides in my Step Forward campaign.
Somehow, I was clumsy enough to knock a good-sized soap dispenser off the wall on my shower and right onto the top of my left foot, leaving a small puncture and a large-sized amount of pain.
After a patch job a day of making myself stay off the foot as much as possible on Friday, I took to my starting spot in the Memorial Sports Centre parking lot and documented my first step of many to come – all with my mom on the phone from Taber, Alta., listening into my exploits as we celebrated her 78th birthday by walking the first lap “together”.
With her favourite country singer, Willie Nelson, providing the soundtrack, we laughed and talked and then said our goodbyes so she could head off to the Rocky Mountains for the day with her partner, a fine man named John Thorgrimson who has filled my deceased father’s shoes in admirable and loving fashion.
So began this three-month odyssey which I hope will be able to make a difference for people who need help in our local area.
I came away from Saturday feeling good about life. But yesterday (Tuesday), I experienced a more somber feeling that started and ended in a matter of seconds.
As I was doing my afternoon walk, I was passed in the opposite direction by an OPP cruiser – and suddenly I felt a rush of combined gratitude and empathy.
I had nothing to worry about from that encounter. I’m a white male living in a small Canadian town.
But what if I was a black man in a different community and out for that same walk and had happened upon a similar law enforcement personnel member?
Would I have been stopped? Questioned? Searched? Worse, would I have been arrested without cause? Possibly beaten? Even killed?
Or what if I was a journalist just trying to do my job? Would I have been intentionally shot at with rubber bullets? Pepper sprayed? Arrested for no justifiable reason?
I had these thoughts and I ask these questions because of what is unfolding all across the United States in the past week.
It frightens me and angers me and saddens me that the rights and, indeed, the lives of innocent people, black and white, are being trampled on and ignored.
I know I am extremely lucky to be who I am and get to do what I’m doing. I won’t take my life for granted and I hope you would all feel the same way, too.
Let’s walk together to make the days to come better for everyone.
Steps taken this week: 61,546
Steps taken overall: 61,546
Money raised this week: $730
Money raised overall for UNFC Food Bank: $730
Please go to my Facebook page entitled “Joey Payeur” and look for the Step Forward fundraiser post to donate. Thanks for all your support.