Walking the streets of Selma

Published 5:57 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019

It’s hard to define what exactly compels me to walk everywhere I go – I’m not particularly health conscious, as evidenced by the gallons of Coca-Cola I throw down my throat each week, and I’m certainly not athletic, but I enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

More than that, one rarely knows what will happen during a stroll.

Quite different from a car ride, which will always feature the same battles of traffic, parking spaces and the like, anything can happen when walking the streets of Selma and it frequently does.

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On my second day in the Queen City, I set out walking to The Coffee Shoppe to cover the diner’s seventh anniversary – little did I know that I would stumble upon a small contingent of protesters outside city hall and be propelled into the unemployment discussion for the next couple of months.

Without a doubt, the people I met on that day have become some of my most trusted sources and friends and I could not have possibly met them without putting one foot in front of the other on the sidewalks of Broad Street.

Another time, when I walked down to the library to cover one event or another, I noticed a tiny restaurant across from the athenaeum’s main entrance and stepped inside.

I ordered up a tuna salad sandwich with a side of broccoli casserole from “The Downtowner” menu, washed down with a glass of sweet tea, and have since made the local eatery a mainstay of my traveling diet.

I’ve walked to countless spots in downtown Selma over the past few months – to the Tally Ho Street Kitchen when they park at Arsenal Place, to the Dallas County Courthouse for various meetings, to concerts on Water Avenue and banks on Church Street and countless other locales beyond and between – and I never tire of the act nor arrive and wish I’d taken the car.

As a reporter, it is imperative that I give myself the opportunity to become acquainted with the people and places that make up this city but, more than that, it’s something one should do as an engaged and interested citizen anxious to get to know the people you can only meet when walking down the street.

This isn’t just true of Selma, it’s true of every city and it’s something we’ve lost as we’ve become more attached to our vehicles and cell phones and emails and social media posts – we’ve forgotten how to engage with one another on a personal level and our communities have suffered the consequences.

So, take the time to hit the sidewalks this week – the sunshine’s becoming more plentiful by the day and the people are always out to offer a quick smile or a kind word, just the thing to pass the time in a meaningful way.