I don’t remember the sting of all those blisters on my feet but, to this day, you could throw me in a car trunk, drive to Boston, MA, dump me out, spin me around three times, pull off the blindfold, and I might just be able to tell you how many little boy steps we are from that crazy old steaming kettle sign, or Boston Common, “Old Ironsides,” and the nearest T stop … on my brain’s best days, anyway.
See, my dad has always been a walker: to the bus stop for his commute to Providence, RI; around any golf course (in any weather); through the woods; mowing the lawn–always in motion. Dad’s job sometimes put him in line for Boston Red Sox and Celtics tickets. He’d take them, and me, to Beantown. We’d get there ridiculously early and we’d walk and walk and see everything. These were many of the best days of my childhood, even one that ended with Mom the RN pulling off my sneakers and bloody socks and snapping at Dad: “Wally! What did you do to this kid?”
Something rubbed off … much more than those layers of skin. I tend to show up way too early for things, for instance. And when I’m feeling anxious or frustrated, watch the door … there he goes again. Walking stirs the blood, awakens the brain, breaks the logjam. Try it: There’s a conflict at work. Storm away with an angry head of steam and be darned if you don’t amble back in a bit with a fresh attitude and a much better response than that, um, ultimately counterproductive thing you were about to say.
In thinking about a theme for this issue, what kept coming back was the notion of “walking the walk,” getting out there, taking action, and not just talking about doing it. How better to describe Assistant Professor Jason Farley’s HIV curriculum that will put students face to face with their biases in order to overcome them (“HIV Care Corps”)? Or “Other Lives” nurse Barbara Maliszewski’s efforts to feed the hungry (“From Swamp to Surplus”)? Or student Brittany Kelly’s determination to make a difference on the East Baltimore streets she walked as a kid (“Staying Power”)? Or Instructor Mary Donnelly’s community- and health-building hikes (“Walking the Walk”)? Or even writer Danielle Kress and Orange Element designer Nicolette Cornelius’ efforts to catch up—and keep up—with Donnelly’s Wald Walkers?
Welcome to Johns Hopkins Nursing. Please “let your fingers do the walking,” as they used to say when I was a kid. But take it slow. There’s a lot to take in. And we wouldn’t want blisters, would we?