Sunday morning, the boys and I started out for our normal morning walk around the neighborhood. We were a bit later getting started than I would have liked. It was getting hotter fast, so I could tell the dogs were not going to make it very far.
The stillness of the morning was slowly shifting to sounds of dogs barking, cars driving by and crows cawing in the distance. The neighborhood seemed to be awaking as we motored along.
We turned the corner to head north to make our walk shorter, and I noticed there was a man walking his dog behind us, and an older woman about a block ahead walking in our direction.
At first, I felt a bit trapped on that section of the sidewalk because the power wheelchair isn’t made for moving off the sidewalk to yield to passersby. It is also a section where the boys like to stop to smell and mark to let the beagle they don’t seem to like know they were there. I let them linger there in front of the beagle’s house because it makes me smile.
I realized I knew the man walking the dog behind me and he waved as he turned back down my street, so he was no longer behind us. I saw the woman walking toward us with her fold-up wheeled cart wasn’t slowing down.
Would she wait for us to get up to the next cross street so that we could all pass there, or was she going to keep walking?
I really hurried the boys, but the chair only goes 3.7 mph, and it wasn’t like we could hurry all that much more to meet her at a better spot for passing. I started to feel anxious and even said to her that we were sorry and would be out of her way soon. I couldn’t tell if she heard me or not because I couldn’t make out her facial expressions.
It felt like an eternity before we made it to the cross street, and when we did, I could see her more clearly. I don’t recall ever seeing her before in the neighborhood.
Her hair was gray, her face weathered, eyes were sad, and the contents of her cart were wrapped tightly and neatly inside two different black garbage bags. I smiled and said, “Good Morning!”
She was smiling back and said, “Well, isn’t this just the most beautiful picture!” as she eyed the dogs walking so perfectly beside me in the power wheelchair.
I said, “Thank you. It kinda is, isn’t it?” She remarked she wished she had a camera because she really needed to remember this image. She went on for a few minutes marveling at how good my boys were and how lucky I was to have them.
Then she went on to thank me.
Really, she went on to thank me. She thanked me for being out with my dogs ‘like this’ on this particular morning and for giving her a picture of hope and happiness no matter what the circumstances are. She said I made her day and she will carry that with her through her week.
She said that I could not possibly know or understand how much she needed to see just that on this day, and as she walked on, she said she sure hoped she would see us all again next week.
I hope so too.
****It is rare that someone comes right out to share how you have impacted them by simply being who you are, but you can bet anything you do, and how you are is making an impact.
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