Honor is a social norm, so it varies from culture to culture. Because I’m not immersed in the cultures where one must kill one’s own to defend one’s honor, I do not understand the reasoning behind those acts. But let me try.

If a member of my family transgresses against the norm, thus causing me shame, by killing that person, I remove the cause of the shame? Is this a variation on on the concept of out-of-sight, out-of-mind?

It seems to me that would simply trade guilt for shame.

Mary Leta Bell Cox, 91, a resident of Valley Bend, died at home on Tuesday, May 27, 2008.

She was born Jan. 31, 1917, at Elkwater, to the late Charles Howard and Susan Ann Fretwell Bell.

She married Charles Goff “Coxie” Cox on July 23, 1938. He preceded her in death in 1998, just short of their 60th wedding anniversary.

Leta and Coxie were the parents of three children, 11 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, all of whom survive. Leta also had a number of nieces and nephews.

Her son, Charles William Cox and wife, Mary Lou, live in Mill Gap, Va. Their children and grandchildren are Charles William Jr. and Deena Cox and Emily, Olivia, Evan and Aidan of Poughquag, N.Y.; Geoffrey G. Goff Cox and Jaden of Monterey, Va.; Mary Rebekah and Allan Hadfield and Willa Bell, Mary Bird, Charlotte and Susanna of Staunton, Va.; Judith Anne and John Bendel and Zoe Leta, Cullen, Rhea and Tessa of McDowell, Va. Another son, Robert Earl Cox and wife, Diana, live in Eighty-four, Pa. His children and grandchildren are Jill and John Washabaugh, and John, Stephanie, Eddie, Andy and Ashley of Canonsburg, Pa.; Robert E. Cox Jr. of Deep Creek, Md.; Jeff and Alicia Cox and Amelia and Olivia of Morgantown; Debbi and Chris Mauser and Kaylee, Ethan and Evan of Houston, Pa., and Ben Cox of Morgantown. A daughter, Rebecca Sue Magee and husband, Robert, live in Blacksburg, Va. Her children and grandchildren are Christy Wohlford of Richmond, Va., and Candey and Andy Grice and Katie and Drew of Strasburg, Pa. A brother, Charles Howard Bell and wife, Ethelyn, reside in Valley Bend.

Two sisters, Leah Bell Heckle Hammer and Violet “Bobbie” Bell Davies preceded her in death.

Mrs. Cox was a beautician in Valley Bend for many years, operating Leta’s Beauty Shop prior to her retirement. She was a member of the Beverly Presbyterian Church, John Hart Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and a former member of Randolph Chapter No. 74 Order of the Eastern Star.

At the request of the deceased, her remains will be cremated. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 7, at the Beverly Presbyterian Church with Jo Ann Glasser and William Cox officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the Randolph County Historical Society, Box 1164, Elkins, W.Va. 26241 or the Beverly Presbyterian Church, Beverly, W.Va. 26253 in memory of Mrs. Cox. The Tomblyn Funeral Home of Elkins is in charge of the arrangements for Mary Leta Bell Cox. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.tomblynfuneralhome.com [from The Inter-Mountain].

We walked to the Memorial Day parade this morning. That was fun, though the posted speed limit on Beekman-Poughquag Road should be lowered by about 10 to 15 mph. We had a good time at the parade. The kids didn’t pay much attention to the speechifying afterwards — too busy playing with their friends. All Smoked Up was there, so I had a pulled pork sandwich.

But I got to thinking, how far do kids normally walk? Today we walked about 1.5 miles from our house to town hall, and back. At DisneyWorld we probably walked a good 15 miles per day, at least. It takes a little longer, about 30 minutes instead of 5, though with 4 kids a 5 minute jaunt rapidly turns into a 30 minute expedition.

I ran across “How Children Lost the Right to Roam in Four Generations,” via Free Range Kids, which had this neat map showing the different ranges that four generations roamed when they were eight years old. The great-grandfather walked six miles on his own. The grandfather walked one. The mother walked a half, and the son walks 300 yards, barely. That’s a shame.

I have a brother, so I was never truly alone. But I recall when I was a wee tot, before we moved to Ohio when I was five, that we’d walk down the farm lane to the pond to go swimming. It was just a short walk. (I can’t quite locate it for certain on this map, but if my guess is correct it was only 1100 feet.) In Ohio, we went alone to the woods to hunt for stuff, to the park to play ball, to the newstand for comics, over to our friends’ houses, and to the pool with our friends — we had to go with them; they were members. From one house, we roamed this range.

By the time we left town, our range had expanded. We were older, and had bicycles.

Would we let our kids roam that far? Maybe when they are older. Maybe by then the roads between our house and their grandmother’s will have sidewalks, and a speed limit lower than a superhighway’s. And then they can bike the three miles on their own.

While we were away, the retail price of a gallon of gasoline jumped from around $3.799 to $3.999, with some locations selling for $4.059. In Florida over the same span, the price increased approximately $0.03. Fuel taxes in New York are interesting in that in addition to a flat per-gallon tax there is also a sales tax of roughly 8.125%, split between the county and the state, so a small shift in the wholesale price results in a relatively substantial change in the price at the pump.

It’s been noted elsewhere that demand for gasoline over the short term is inelastic, but over the long term is elastic. (I suppose the terms “rigid” and “flexible” would have been too obvious for jargon.) Simply put, our habitual behavior is hard to break. And the costs of switching are high, whether in time or in money.

This morning the girls missed the school bus, so I walked with them to the last stop on the route, which is about a quarter-mile away. The other parents bundled their children into their cars, then drove the 100 feet from the garage to the bus stop.