In 1994 my father called me to tell me he and our mother were planning to sell the farm in Chesterfield and move. I asked a number of questions related to the steps and the bathroom not working for he and Mom who was dealing with the impact of diabetes causing her eyesight be very bad. Dad then said… “Mathew wants sidewalks”.

Growing up on a farm in Ellisville, Missouri where it was nearly .5 miles to the place where our driveway met Strecker Road, I didn’t think much about sidewalks. In 1994, my parents and brother Mathew were living on Wild Horse Creek Road and even though they were much closer to their mailbox and the connection where their driveway met Wild Horse Creek Road, it wasn’t conducive to walking and visiting. And, if anyone knows Mathew he is a very social animal and he loves to hang with people.

As a child for as long as I can remember once my grandfather announced that the Houlihan Nursery Company would be closed on Sunday to be with our families Sunday became a day with Dad. Sunday’s would begin with 6:00 AM mass then bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast and then off to the barn to saddle up for a trail ride. Our trail rides always included crossing gates into other people’s property and the opportunity to stop and visit if people were home. As a child, I didn’t completely appreciate the value of stopping for a visit. I always wanted to get back on my horse and ride. And, many times my selfishness of resenting the time other people had with my with my Dad raised it’s ugly head. But for the most part, a stop to visit always included a cold drink and a snack or a sandwich.  It was during those times that I became exposed to some extraordinary people who made a profound impact on my life. And as a child I found I was more able to hear the guidance and suggestions and example from other adults than I was from my own parents particularly my father.

So when my father suggested Mathew wanted sidewalks, I think there was also a hidden motive for himself and my mother as well. Sundays also included visits from friends and family from the city. And, even though at this point Ellisville doesn’t seem like country it was an opportunity for families to load up the kids and take a drive. Many of my cousins have recalled some of their fondest memories were driving to the farm and having the opportunity to ride a horse with my brother Pat and I.

Today, as I look at my world and dwell on what is working and what is missing, I think sidewalks! Mathew once again has taught me another lesson in the importance of relationships. Sidewalks aren’t missing in many communities however the opportunity that lies inside of this structure is missing. My commitment is that “smart homes” or “Homes Without Limits” are inside of communities where everyone knows everyone at all ages.

Posted in Community.