Someone once said that character is what you do when no one is looking. Well, I’d like to add a codicil to that adage. Character is how you drive when you pass a pedestrian on a country road when no one else is around.

Out here where we live in the Ozarks, there aren’t fancy schmancy walking trails, so we take to the back roads. I like to walk with my husband and our two dogs. We walk on the county roads near our home. The other day, as a truck sped past us, very close, I told my husband my new postulate: folks who drive close and fast by walkers on a country road lack moral character.

But they not only lack moral character, they are close to breaking the law. Around here, pedestrians on a country road have the right of way. A driver of a vehicle is going to look ridiculous in a courtroom claiming that someone walking on a country road with a stick or a golf club in hand (to ward off territorial dogs, of course) presents an equal match to his 6,000 pound truck. In fact, some liars (that’s how some of the folks around here pronounce “lawyers,” and I think it fits, sometimes), might even say that a vehicle speeding toward a walker is guilty of committing assault with a deadly weapon.

And speaking of deadly weapons, or firearms, as we say in the National Rifle Association, I carry a big stick and wear a “manny-pack” (Galco waistpack) that holds my GLOCK Model 22. It’s like wearing one of those “shoot-me-first” vests … you know, the ones that are supposed to hide a concealed carry firearm, but everybody knows the guy is really packing heat under it? 

So, if some yahoo wants to drive by me and think that I might be carrying a gun along with my cell phone and house keys in the compartments of my manny-pack, well that’s all right by me. 

In fact, even if you don’t want to carry a gun, you might want one of these manny-packs. Keep folks guessing and also, carry your stuff comfortably. I bought mine a few years ago at a gun show. I wish it had come in another color, but it was black. At least it has a cool, bodyguard-ish name: The Escort.

This innovative Galco design is constructed of 430 Denier water-resistant rip-stop pack cloth. Dual front-opening zipper pulls allow for fast and quiet draw. The unique built-in neoprene holster and spare magazine slot (on large size only) conforms to the handgun and provides excellent handgun security. The 1 1/2″ waistband strap includes a fastex buckle release which makes the Escort extremely easy to put on and take off. All sizes feature a front utility pocket and taped inner seams and an interior rain flap along the zipper’s edge on the pistol compartment. The large size also includes side wing pockets. The Escort is available in right- and left-handed designs. In black nylon. MSRP: About $68.

I could not find this model at Galco’s online store, but several other vendors offer this bag. And, I’ve even cinched it tight and run a few miles with it. And, I’ve worn it in the stream around my waders. After all, last time I heard the news, Missouri was rated #1 for meth labs in the country.

Now, of course, some common sense must enter into this equation. A pedestrian should walk in daylight on the left side of the roadway. But that’s about as much of an obligation as we pedestrians have – the rest is up to the drivers out there. We shouldn’t have to jump off the road into the nearest poison ivy patch or briar bush because we fear for our lives. 

A courteous driver will always slow down and move to the far side of the road, if possible – especially on a dusty road. I’ve come home looking like I’ve been rolled in flour after a walk on a hot, dry day.

Eye contact is good, too. I appreciate eye contact, and I like to get a wave. That’s something in the Ozarks that lots of people do, and I remember when I was a young woman driving my fiancée’s car on the country roads near his home way out in the boonies. A man was working in a ditch, and I drove by him, honked the horn, and waved. He looked startled, but grinned and waved back. My soon-to-be-husand asked, “Why did you honk at that poor guy? You nearly scared the beans [edited for obvious reasons] out of him.” To which I answered, “I thought everyone honked and waved out here.”

So, wave, honk, make eye contact, and for goodness sake, slow down and/or move over when you pass someone walking on a country road.

 

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