Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I usually hear her before I see her.

As I sit on the front porch, I hear the wheels of her walker scraping along the road. She is out there, walking, in the rain, the snow, the hot hot sun of summer. Always by herself. She circles our block once, sometimes twice every day. And she always, always has the most beautiful smile on her face.

She lives on the block behind us, in an immaculate little white house with pink shutters protected by tall Ponderosa pines. She is, I found out, 99 years old.

I think about her as I run, when it feels hard and I would rather be somewhere else, doing anything other than running. I think about her and how happy she is just to be outside, to be walking. To be ABLE to walk. It makes me run faster.

I am working up the courage to talk to her. To maybe walk beside her for awhile, to ask her about her life. I'm sure it's been full of joys, surprises, sorrows and grief. I want to tell her thank you for reminding me that I am lucky to be healthy and able to walk, to run, to jump and play and that I should do so, every day. Thank you for your beautiful smile that reminds me that life? Is good.


Jodi said...

Courage to talk to her? She would LOVE to have you talk to her! She's probably rather lonely and would love to have the company, even if only for a minute. Older people also love to talk about their pasts, the way things used to be, the difficulty with the way things are now. I LOVE older people - I can guarantee you that you would be very happy you took the time. Besides, it would be an opportunity to let her know that she could contact you if she ever has an emergency. Good deed!

kate said...

She lives with family, that's how I found out how old she is; I interviewed her great-grandaughter to watch Anna this summer. So she's got people watching out for her.

But yeah, I will. I don't know why I"m shy about that stuff, meeting new people. Old people kinda freak me out. (sorry mom).

hahahahaaaaa oh man, I crack myself up.

Dee said...

You BRAT !

But , yes, it doesn't take courage,-----next time you see her, go out to her, and ask if you can walk with her. Then, tell her how she inspires you. But I would suggest that you leave out the part about being grateful to be able to run, jump and play. Just tell her how wonderful SHE IS. Make it about her and flatter her. Us grumpy "old people" love to hear how good we look etc.

Sue said...

You write very well.

My Grammie is 97 and still oh so very smart. She can't hear so well or move so well but her mind is still amazing.

Michelle said...

Oh and we can learn so much from our elders! Lovely post.

tallulah said...

Old people kind of creep me out for real. I don't know why.

People tend to ignore older people, like they don't even exist.

Get over your shyness quick. She's 99 for Christ's sake! You will hate it if she croaked before you got the chance to develop a relationship with her.