Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Urban youth are a surprisingly sheltered bunch. Why, just yesterday I had an experience that made me quite aware of the perilous degree to which many of today's inner city children have been kept from the wider world.

As it happened, I had gone for my first run in Philadelphia, a week after our arrival. Initially I ran westward toward the Cobbs Creek Parkway system that I had seen on the map. It proved to be a nice run, similar to the run along minnehaha creek in Minneapolis. As I headed back up Baltimore avenue I realized that it was 3:15, a time that schoolchildren everywhere long for. My route back home happened to be directly along the main thouroughfare for the Junior High students as they walked home or waited for the bus.

As I passed by, it occurred to me, "By golly, these youth have probably never seen a skinny white man running past their school in tights!" Indeed, I can only presume they never had, for their cries led me to believe that they were shocked to their very cores! So shocked in fact, were some of the youth that they in fact were taken with fits of what I assume was laughter, but seemed to me more like screaming or jeering! A number of the young boys, tried their best to pelt me with chunks of snow and ice, while others took it upon themselves to run along beside me. Being not as fleet of foot as I, they were soon outstripped however. At this point I came across a brace of young girls, one of which screamed again at me, while her companion took the courage to utter a greeting to me as I rushed past. While the greeting itself was unfamiliar to me, I can only assume it to be a local saying in this region, the meaning was nonetheless clear and pleasant to me. If I remember correctly, the utterance was, "I can see yer Gibbleys!"

At any rate, the brush with the native youth invigorated me to a degree that I was soon panting for breath as I sped home to the relative quiet of our abode. All in all, it was a good day and a good run, I shal have to duplicate it by and by.

Until next we meet, dear reader.

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