A Small World

In early January, I began a walk across Canada, and hope to arrive in St. John’s, Newfoundland by December 31, 2019.  I am a member of two walking clubs; one in Vancouver (Vancouver ‘Venturers) and one in Washington State (NW Trekkers).

The American Association of our clubs initiated a “Walk Across Canada” challenge for interested members in both the USA and Canada.  There was a small enrollment fee, and then it’s just a matter of ensuring that you walk a minimum of 6,000 steps a day – every day – to reach St. John’s by the end of the year.  You keep track of your steps by Fitbit, or Google Fit or any other app that records distance in steps.  The Walker Tracker program then syncs the data online to their online charts, which are updated continuously.  You’re not actually walking physically across Canada – rather, it’s a ‘virtual-tracking’ of your walks.

Today, I participated in a St. Patricks Day walk in La Conner, WA – one of my favorite places to walk.   I walked over 15,000 steps, which is approximately 10 KM.  My year-to-date total number of steps is now 735,000, which puts me currently a few kms east of Regina, Saskatchewan.  The total number of steps needed to cross Canada is 2,007,500 steps, so I’m well on my way.  Doug Jackson, our Vancouver Venturers president, has already logged over 1,000,000 steps, and his wife, Nancy, is just a few steps behind him.

But Danny, what does all of that have to do with the ‘A Small World’ title?

Nothing Spanky, but it does have something to do with a walk I took a couple of days ago.  It was either Wednesday or Thursday morning that I met a lady who was playing with her German Shepherd in this large open field in Langley.

So, I asked the lady if her dog was friendly.

She smiled and said that he was indeed friendly and that his name is Shadow.

I began to pet Shadow and asked the lady if I could take a short video clip of Shadow?

‘Yes, of course’ she replied.

I mentioned that I had a Shepherd in the ’80s, and I’ve always loved the breed.  His name was Jesse James, and he was the smartest dog I’ve ever owned or known!

Jesse James (1977-1986)                                                                Photo by Danny

I also explained that I was a frequent walker and that I enjoyed meeting dogs and their owners.  I also told her that I take lots of photos and video clips of my encounters, which I include on my website.  I gave her my card and told her that she could view Shadow’s video later in the day after I got home and downloaded it to my computer/website.

“Oh, I don’t have a computer, but my daughter does.  I’ll get her to show me on her computer.”

“Okay, well it was nice meeting you and Shadow.”

And then, as I was walking away and waving to her, she yelled out that her name was Sheila.

Have a nice day, Sheila!, I yelled back.

When I got home, I added the two short video clips of Shadow and Sheila on the ‘Animal Pals’ page of this site.

Here is the link to the video:  Shadow the German Shepherd

You’re probably scratching your head and wondering where this story is going…

So, during the St. Patricks Day walk in La Conner, I was enjoying the beautiful day with my awesome friends and I did indeed, feel very lucky.  There were over twenty people walking today – each of us wearing something green – and each with a dream of finding a lucky, four-leaf clover or a tiny leprechaun and his ‘pot of gold’.

St. Patrick’s Day walk  in La Conner, WA                                            Photo by Sue Wallace

Standing in the middle of the group, with the green hair, is my new buddy Norm.  We met at the Blaine/Peace Arch walk a few weeks ago.  At the time, Norm explained that he’d been away from walking for the past year while fighting cancer.  Norm was smiling from ear-to-ear when we shook hands at our first meeting – he’s a very warm-hearted person and I took an immediate liking to him.  I told him that I too had battled cancer and had another friend named Norm who was also was a cancer warrior.

And although the St. Patrick’s Day walk was exceptional, none of us found a four leaf clover or a leprechaun with a pot of gold.  It wasn’t until I got home and was checking for messages that I got a message from my website that someone had left a comment on the Animal Pals page of this website.   You can check the message by clicking this link:  Animal Pals comment or you can read it below:

hi daniel
my name is sheila hall; i met you on my walk recently, earlier this week, at nicomekl flood plain in langley–you took pictures of my german shepherd dog named shadow; i was surprised to learn that you know my daughter, sandy hall, who works at the cancer agency–she knows you very well as she often worked the reception desk–she’s currently on medical leave–she speaks very highly of you it was nice to meet you (my daughter is sending this on my behalf as i have no email address)

Sandy is an administrative assistant at the Fraser Valley Cancer Center in Surrey where I was treated for my cancer.  I also volunteered there for five years and knew her very well.  A year or so ago, during a social visit to the cancer center, I learned that Sandy was in the hospital and that she was in a serious condition – and had dropped in weight to just 68 lbs!  I went to the SMH and visited her.  I was shocked to see her – she looked like a skeleton!  But we had a nice visit and later, I sat beside her in bed and a nurse took our picture together.  I won’t post our picture without Sandy’s permission but I am going to send her an email message, now that I have her email address and see if I can come to visit her.

So, I was both shocked and thrilled by the message.  What are the odds of meeting a complete stranger – in the middle of a large field – in the Lower Mainland – who happens to be the mother of one of your gal pals?  Yes indeed, Spanky, it’s a very ‘small world!’

UPDATE March 20th: I received an email from Sandy today. t She also mentioned that I had been mistaken in this blog about her weight when I visited her in the hospital.  Her weight then was only 58 lbs. – not 68!  Sandy said that when they rushed her to the hospital she weighed only 54 lbs.  Her weight is currently just 60 lbs., so she’s still not doing well.  But it was great hearing from her and we’re going to get together, as soon as she’s feeling well enough for a visit.


My dad’s mom was from Ireland, so I have a bit of Irish in me.  And this St. Patrick’s Day was definitely one of my favorites.  Walking has given me so much.  New friends.  New places. New experiences.  Maybe, after reading this you’ll join a walking club.  If so, you’ll be smiling from ear-to-ear – just like my walking pals, animal pals, leprechauns and me!

Danny and Tom share a moment                                 Photo by Sue Wallace

Dedicated to Sandy, Sheila, and Shadow



Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):

You’ve Got a Friend – lyrics

When you’re down and troubled
And you need some love and care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes, I will

Now, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold?
They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh, but don’t you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes, I will
You’ve got a friend
You’ve got a friend

Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend?
Ain’t it good to know, ain’t it good to know, ain’t it good to know
You’ve got a friend?
Oh yeah now, you’ve got a friend
Yeah, baby, you’ve got a friend
Oh yeah, you’ve got a friend

Songwriters: Carole King
You’ve Got a Friend lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

6 thoughts on “A Small World

  1. Proud to call you my friend. Yep, we will go walking one day soon.
    Thanks again for coming all the way out to see the Theatre Shows at NSNH. I am hoping you had fun.

  2. Thank you, Dan, for your thoughtful words. We both enjoyed meeting and spending time with you on the ‘Trekker walks. Thanks, too, for your reference to Norm. He enjoys your company very much and looks forward to more walks together.
    We also watched your 49 North video. Thanks for all you do! Norm and Gina

    1. Gina, it was nice meeting you at the walk. I now know why Norm smiles so much. My other Norm friend’s wife said that they were ‘made for each other’ and I think that that saying applies to you and your smiling Norm, as well!
      I’m happy that you enjoyed watching the North of 49 videos. There is also a video of a speech I gave as a cancer patient – here is the link: Danny’s Cancer Story
      Hugs, Danny

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