|My gals at Memphis Zoo, Where I Discovered Whistle Creek|
It was at the zoo's gift shop that I first got to examine Whistle Creek walking and hiking sticks and fell in love with them. The walking sticks are shorter and ideal for everyday jaunts on neighborhood sidewalks or boardwalks or malls or whatnot. The top of the handle rests comfortably at the break in your wrist when your arm is relaxed by your side, with the cane upright. In writing my letter to Santa Claus, I specified that I wanted the handsome staff made of Carolina Hawthorn. The root of the bush serves as the handle. It is a fine work of craftsmanship and the Hawthorn is almost as thick as a Louisville Slugger, thus lending some sense of security when we venture where unfriendly critters might be about.
|Right Hand: Hawthorn: Left, Indonesian Hiking Stick|
Making the first choice among models of country walking sticks will be difficult. Will it perhaps be the "Hickory Gentleman's Cane," made of sturdy hickory with a leather wrist strap and a weatherproof finish? On the other hand, the Sassafras Brass Knob sounds completely fine -- and with a polish brass knob that is "actually a decorative hame tip from a horse collar," it is bound to be a conversation piece. Many other choices are available: the Red Oak, Sumac Root, Cattleman's Cane, or maybe even the Alpine Laminated Walking Stick fashioned from Oregon Douglas Fir with Walnut strips laminated. I can picture them all arrayed by my front door, ready for me to select the staff du jour, slip the leash on Sadie, and head out. Maybe if I am a good boy, I can one day possess them all.
Another fascinating item is the "Strap-On Bear Bell," which fastens to your walking stick to "alert wildlife to your presence." There is a rather ingenious feature with a magnet that enables a user to mute the device when the sound becomes annoying. In truth, I have never seen a bear on one of our walks, but a 2,000-bear colony does live in peace in a wide swath of virgin woods not far from here. But would a bear be repelled of attracted by a bell? I can't say, but if I have my loyal Superdawg and my Hawthorn walking stick with me, I will have some sense of security.
© Robert G. Holland