‘The Old Man and His Dog’

Many of us have seen them—the grizzled old man slowly meandering down our streets early in the morning, saving our newspapers from the indignity of being waterlogged by our sprinklers, followed dutifully by his lagging, arthritic, dog who seems blindly oblivious to his surroundings. Both seem a better fit for the end of the day than the beginning, yet both are out for a breath of fresh air and the desire to see the world as it has become.

I don’t know where their journey begins or where it ends, but I am happy to see them trying to continue on despite difficult circumstances. I am also pleased if I can shake off the morning doldrums to retrieve my newspaper before the old man does.

The other morning as my wife and I were off on an early morning mission, my wife spotted a dark mass right in the center of our street. As we slowed our car, my wife realized that the mass was, in fact, the old canine—either asleep or weakened by his journey.

She climbed out of the car and attempted to protect him while simultaneously trying to summon the old man who had wandered far ahead. The old dog refused to move, content with his position, and seeming to lack the strength or ambition to move.

At last, the old man returned, removed his charge from its perilous position, and they continued on their slow-paced peregrination.

The old man and his dog have undoubtedly been bound by the years, and as we end one year and begin another, we can only hope that their journey will continue, like ours, with their undying faith and determination to proceed despite their growing fragility.

Barry Ludwig, MD


It’s painfully apparent to me that many people in our community must think that they’re too important to know how their automatic sprinklers work (we have gardeners for that, right?!) or maybe they just don’t care about wasting huge amounts of water (I suppose that as long as they think of themselves as “environmentalists” they don’t really have to do anything to help the environment!).

On my daily walk early this morning, I walked past house after house with sprinklers blasting away, despite all the rain we got over the last few days, and despite the forecast of much more rain on the way. This is a regular occurrence—I even see sprinklers running while it is raining. And often much of the water is running down sidewalks and streets, because of runoff from over-watering saturated landscaping, and/or out-of-adjustment sprinklers that spray directly onto the sidewalks or even streets.

Folks—it isn’t that hard to learn how to shut off your irrigation system and to pay attention to when you should be doing so. It’s simple—shut your sprinklers off when we’re getting enough rain so that it isn’t necessary to water your landscaping.

Steve Skolnik

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