My boss slid out of town before dawn to drive to my homeland. His destination was his family cottage near Cape Crocker in Wiarton, Ontario and it was the first trip of the season. I therefore seized the opportunity to grab an extra loop of walking time on the Council Point Park perimeter path, then topped that exercise off with a three-hour yard work extravaganza. I, too, was up early, and on the way by 7:30 a.m. where I met up with at least a half-dozen walkers who were mid-way through their regimen. The usual dogs were there as well, their owners choosing the Park as their go-to “dog park”, even though the dogs must be kept leashed at all times. It was a picture-perfect day and we are slated for a weekend to rival this beautiful Friday. My sweatshirt cardigan was off before I’d even finished half of a loop and I slung it around my shoulders preppy-style, but that soon got uncomfortably hot, so I next tied it around my waist and even that was way too warm. Luckily I had my bag that was brimming with critter goodies so I finally slipped the sweater into the bag as I knew I’d be dispensing bread and peanuts in record time. By now, overly encumbered, I marched along, determined to get five miles under my belt before I traded my walking shoes for my gardening shoes. I kept glancing up at the sky, hoping to catch sight of the Goodyear Blimp which is usually tethered at the Grosse Ile Airport. Though it makes alot of noise when directly overhead, you often see the oblong speck long before you hear it. For years it would pass over the house twice a day – heading to and from the Grand Prix festivities in Detroit. If I happened to be outside when it was enroute to downtown, I was always awestruck at how large and sleek it was and how effortlessly it glided along in the air. At night it was a sight to see when it was all lit up and displaying its LCD message on the side in the dark of evening. But the Blimp was nowhere to be seen this morning – too bad as I had the camera ready as well. All that I saw in this cloudless sky was ol’ Mr. Sun persistently shining down, sunbeams reaching out far and wide. It was a welcome sight indeed after our brutal Winter and cold Spring. Several of the walkers at the Park have already donned wide-brimmed straw hats or flap hats and “Jackie O” sunglasses. One diminutive older woman travels the trail with a golf umbrella which she places directly over her head and that big umbrella almost dwarfs her … all you see are legs and the striped umbrella strolling down the trail. But she, and the others, are taking no chances on their sun protection. The last few days I’ve heard alot of media reports about legislation to regulate the notices about the dangers of indoor tanning and sunlamps. We really don’t need the legislation nor the media coverage, because we all are mindful that while the sun’s warmth feels good on our bare skin, too much exposure is really not good for us. My mom was warning me about staying out in the sun too long because I am fair-skinned and thus more susceptible to sunburns, long before sun protection factors and the dangers of frying yourself to get a golden glow were commonplace knowledge. She encouraged me not to be a fool and lay out in the sun on the cement sidewalk or use tin foil apparatuses positioned near my head since way back in my teens. She even tried to appeal to my vanity by admonishing me and telling a tale that many decades in the future, long after she was gone, I would end up with skin that was akin to shoe leather, not smooth and supple. My mom and grandmother only used Noxzema skin cream on their respective faces and both had skin like a baby. Of course I did not listen and I used a sunlamp as well, ending up with a red face and white raccoon eyes where the goggles had been placed. Over the years, I’ve listened to the experts and tried to use sunscreen but it was usually dripping off my skin after a bout of toiling in the yard or walking or exercising in the heat. I even bought a wide-brimmed straw hat but found it awkward to wear while working out in the yard and big sunglasses would slip and slide down my nose as soon as I started to sweat so I abandoned them all. It seemed my only concession was wrapping a bandana around my head to preserve my painstakingly placed, foiled-in highlights in my light-brown tresses because I did not want them to fade. Well, my skin doesn’t look like an alligator yet Mom, and years later I may regret my foolish actions, but hey – you can’t tell a teenager anything sometimes, because, like me, they seemingly know it all, eh?