A Christmas Day Walk: Cars, Quotes, and Just Walking

(a ghost from a Christmas past)

Walking is man’s best medicine. (Hippocrates)

The Christmas ham is metabolizing, the wrapping paper is in the recycling bin, the dishes are taking a bath, the kids have scattered, and the rain is letting up; time for a walk. No day is quite complete without a good walk, Christmas included. And I see my neighbors down the street have put their old VW hubcaps gathering dust in the garage to good use this year.

When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly. (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Today that carriage in Eugene would be the Bio (diesel) Taxi. And as to ideas flowing for me, why do you think I’m borrowing quotes? Christmas day, like Thanksgiving, is anything but for thinking well. More like just living well.

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching. (Francis of Assisi)

Works for me, since I’m hardly in the mood to preach; even when confronted by this sight: the two most opposite of cars on the Eugene spectrum. And I can’t resist checking to see what the gold lettering proclaims.

I don’t really think, I just walk. (Paris Hilton)

Le Panache. Yes, so much flair indeed.

We have seen from experience that, if we are in the habit of walking regularly on the same road, we are able to think about other things while walking, without paying attention to our steps. (Vinoba Bhave)

Actually, today we purposefully took a different road, because on any other day, the traffic on Jefferson is a turn-off. And seeing these two is more than a bit poignant, as it represents to some extent what Saab was up against in the 1980s. In 1985, I pondered and test drove a Saab 9000 and a Volvo 740 Turbo before settling on what I really wanted all along anyway: a W124 Mercedes.

Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking. (Antonio Machado)

The owners of this Falcon aren’t making any paths, since they use it daily for their commute to work, all of fourteen blocks away. That would be a pleasant walking commute for me. To each their own. But I feel for the Falcon’s motor, since that’s hardly time enough to get properly warmed up.

In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. (Henry David Thoreau)

Now that really describes my feelings about my afternoon walks, when I can get them in. No wonder they’re so addictive.

At least someone here is Civic-minded.

I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent. (George Washington)

This Bronco would rather be driving on untrodden ground. Presumably, its conduct when doing so will not leave such historical imprints.

A song is anything that can walk by itself. (Bob Dylan)

I suppose we could apply the same definition to a Curbside Classic. It may not be beautiful, but it can still run by itself.

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time. (Steven Wright)

I normally wouldn’t have taken the time to detour a half block for this Mitsubishi, but something about its grille attracted me. I know: because it actually has one. It’s undercut, and the resulting big bumper is almost a throwback to the seventies.

You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is. (Ellen DeGeneres)

Since this house is now for sale, I suspect all too soon I won’t know where the hell this old T-Bird is. We’ve been walking past it for years; I’ll miss it.

Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain. (Billie Holiday)

’nuff said.


My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing. (Aldous Huxley)

Skinner Butte isn’t exactly a mountain, so I guess I didn’t quite make it to church today. More like a chapel. And the ever-popular parking lot is deserted today. I guess this would be the day to experience that. As we trot down, a rather clattery old four-cylinder early Caravan comes chugging up. We’re not the only ones after all. And as we near the bottom of the butte, the whistle of the Coast Starlight tells us we just missed its passing on the tracks below.

Freedom – to walk free and own no superior. (Walt Whitman)

That also applies to traveling of any sort. And it looks like a fair number are doing that on the train this morning, arriving from their overnight trip from California. Christmas Eve on the Coast Starlight; now that’s an intriguing idea. In a sleeper compartment, that is.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (William Shakespeare)

The train gets ready to depart with its sound and fury, and is soon heard no more. But the Eugene Depot is still here, and all the better for a nice restoration it received recently.

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.(Thomas Jefferson)

Now that advice we have taken to heart. We walk like I drive: very rarely does someone pass me/us.

This is one of  a number of new bike racks popping up around downtown.

Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying. (Jean Cocteau)

A bit of intellectual discourse is appropriate in front of our favorite bookstore, Smith Brothers, I mean Smith Family. For some ridiculous reason, we have always called it Smith Brothers, after the two old bearded characters on the old-fashioned cough drops box.

Writing is like walking in a deserted street. Out of the dust in the street you make a mud pie (John le Carre)

If that were true, I’d have a whole lot of mud pies today. Except my mud pies are parked cars, and there’s none here today. The view down the middle of Willamette Street, downtown’s “Main Street”, is truly deserted at noon on Christmas day.

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. (Friedrich Nietzsche)

I’m still waiting for one to appear. Maybe I’m closer to the Paris Hilton end of the walking experience.
Here’s another set of “opposites”; a gold-plated and vinyl-hatted Olds and an old Subaru. Who lives here? The large house and artist studio is shared by two generations of artists. Guess which one drives which car? Don’t assume the obvious.
A city that outdistances man’s walking powers is a trap for man. (Arnold J. Toynbee)
We can actually walk to the edge of town and beyond, but then this quote is probably better digested as a metaphor.
One of the realities of Eugene is that younger folks tend to move a lot, especially the students. This old Celica is now at its third home in the three years I’ve been following its comings and goings.
Every time you walk down the street people are screaming, ‘You’re fired!’ (Donald Trump)
I guess some folks just don’t listen.
No one’s fired this little Dodge Colt, which has been sitting a few spots down from where the Celica has now joined it for years. Now it finally has some vintage company.

The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk. (Cicero)

Good advice, but all-too rarely taken.
And I couldn’t resist a Festiva on Festivus, although it’s a couple of days late for that. And yes, the sun broke out, right about here. Maybe its because this is a California/Spanish style house. There’s a few around; probably California emigrants who just had to have one.


I have never been in a natural place and felt that it was a waste of time. I never have. And it’s a relief. If I’m walking around a desert or whatever, every second is worthwhile.(Viggo Mortensen)

I’ll second that. And the familiar streets of our regular city walks aren’t all that natural, but will do as a stand-in.

We’re on the home stretch, and almost hungry again, so I’ll just zoom in as far as my little camera can to grab this Amazon sunning itself.

The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.(Goethe)

I specifically came this way home for the final shot, because there’s been a white Continental Mark IV sitting in front of this 240D for months now. The two make such a compelling contrast of the seventies. The quite young guys who bought it have been having some problems of various sorts with it, but today it’s gone: a Christmas Miracle? The Mercedes sits alone today.

The wisdom of age: don’t stop walking. (Mason Cooley)

I need a proper finale, and I know where it sits, as it has for over fifteen years just a block and a half from our house: an MG 1100. It’s being stored there for a friend of the house-owners, and said friend was supposed to come last summer, clean it up, and let me have a photography session. Maybe next summer. Meanwhile, here it sits, getting older and older. And we’ll just keep walking by it every day.