I’ve always disliked my thighs. Too bulky, which rhymes with pulkie, which is what my maternal grandmother called them. 

Ellen Futterman

Ellen Futterman, Editor-in-Chief of the St. Louis Jewish Light

“Such cute pulkies,” she’d say, as she delighted in squeezing my chubby infant thighs. And although I don’t actually remember her doing this, Granny continued to comment about my pulkies long after I had graduated from the baby fat years. Nothing like building pre-teen self-esteem by singling out one’s cute pulkies.

While I have worked hard over the past six decades to embrace my body, and all its imperfections, I’ve always had a hard time with my thighs. Until the pandemic. Since March, I’ve grown increasingly fond of them if for no other reason than they are part of my legs. And thanks to my legs and feet and I suppose the rest of my body parts, I can walk. Walking is saving me during this pandemic. Maybe it’s saving you, too.

It used to be that I only walked for exercise. 

Nowadays, I also depend on walking to help work out stress and frustration, some of which stems from COVID-19, not to mention a respite from being stuck inside. There are other reasons, too.

Walking seems relatively safe because it’s outdoors and you can physically distance yourself from others.  And while I often walk alone, listening to music or a true-crime podcast, I also enjoy walking with a friend, even if it means having to wear a mask. 

Walking affords me the chance to socialize with someone other than my husband and 22-year-old son with whom I share a home. (I love and appreciate them dearly but all this togetherness has its moments.)

Sometimes, though, the most enjoyable walks I take are in total solitude — by myself, no headphones, just me and the moment. It’s then I’m reminded that despite all the madness in the world today, there is such beauty in nature and in the pleasure of breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. And for that I am grateful, pulkies and all.