My entire life, I remember the many walks with my dad. He was really an active guy when he was younger. I remember him water and snow skiing. He had six wild kids, it was a job requirement. He went through a little span when he rode a bike to work, but he never enjoyed anything like a simple walk in the rain.
Before my sister passed, for years they walked for two miles every morning. They were little local celebrities. People would stop and say they saw the “doc” and his daughter walking along. It was a good time for him.
After she married, he was back on his own. It didn’t matter, every morning come rain or come shine, he would walk. His step slightly slower, his back a little bent, but it was him. Everybody knew him. He carried bones for the neighborhood dogs along his route. Friend to all.
I honestly lost track. For a long period of time I can’t tell you what he did. I don’t know if he walked or not. Life had turned, and illness wiped the images of the living. In those dark times, I could only see the dying. I bow my head in sadness that I don’t know, but as I said, I lost track.
He started again with the new dog we got him after my mom went away. She can do no wrong, even when she does something extremely bad. He uses a cane. He wears a white hat, and even though he is older, I would know that stride anywhere.
He fell last week. It really scared me. As hard as I have tried, I can’t ignore the truth and frailty of the situation any longer. I asked if he wanted a walking buddy. I could hear the smile over the phone. I was not smiling when he told me what time we leave.
This morning was our first walk together. I will be there tomorrow, the day after that and the one after that. We talked about the mild winters, the little dog Pedro that was waiting for a treat and a pat on the head. He had his cane, and his white hat. There were several times I would look just a little longer. I studied the way his hand looked, the way he laughs just a little longer when he waves good morning to his neighbors. I know one day I will think of these days. But this morning, it was just the two of us - taking a walk.
Hope everybody having a good week. Let’s talk tomorrow. I will bring the coffee. Ruth