Something has been nagging me for quite some time and as a mom it cannot be swept under the rug. In fact, it’s plaguing most moms these days and I would hazard a guess that the culprit lay heavily in those little machines that our children seem to worship – the almighty smartphone. It would be unfair of me to target only our children. We adults are quite addicted ourselves. I read a very good article yesterday on Today.com by Jen Hatmaker, What Would My Mom do? Like hers, my mom would tell me to go outside and play. Now that my own children are apparently too old to “play”, and apparently “hang out” now with friends, I find they are actually “hanging out” via FaceTime and Skype. Unbelievable! Go outside, meet people! This morning, I went for a walk in the neigbourhood, through the forest and over to the paddocks where horses usually graze. Didn’t see any today. The sun was shining, two deer pranced away when they saw me approaching, no children, no smartphones but plenty of birds skittering after each other. It was heavenly. I thought if only my children would get out of bed and enjoy such an early morning walk. If they had, they could have met the interesting character I did this morning. No smartphone can imitate those surroundings, the sounds, the fresh spring air finally seeping into the west coast, and the chance meeting at the fork of two country roads. Interesting indeed! This man looked like something taken straight out of a Tolkien book – a forest-like hermit really. I wasn’t sure whether to run in the opposite direction, but clearly we were both only out to enjoy the gorgeous weather. This man had a no-nonsense dog with him that I could hear panting behind me until he caught up, sniffing my leg curiously. Not the man but the dog! His name was Rambo. Yes! I repeat, Rambo (the dog not the man). Quite unlike Swedes, who generally don’t look at passers-by, this older man was cheery. I’m quite sure the sun put a spring in his step. We began chatting and within two sentences, he said to me that he detected an English dialect. Here we go again, I thought to myself. I replied, “You could hear that directly?” (in Swedish of course) “Ja,” as though I should be surprised. I like to kid myself into believing that if I speak Swedish quickly enough, I will fool the locals with my very natural Göteborgs dialect. Somehow I always fail miserably. Needless-to-say, he was very curious and asked me all sorts of questions about Canada. He had heard that Canada’s landscape was similar to Sweden’s. Yes, that’s true. He even had some relatives living there – in Ontario was all he could remember. Then it was time to part ways when I asked about Rambo. He asked me if I knew where the name Rambo came from. I looked at the beast, no longer wondering if he’d take one of my limbs away with him, and said that of course I knew the film. He proceeded to tell me that the name Rambo comes from the Swedish immigrant Peter Gunnarsson Rambo, who brought apple seeds to the United States in 1637. It’s possible that the Rambo seeds are responsible for the first truly American apples. Now, if I hadn’t gone for that walk this morning, I may never have learned that bit of trivia. So, get off your smartphones kids, get outside and go for a walk. You never know what you’ll see or who you’ll meet, and you will never, ever regret walking away with all limbs in tact!