15 April 2011
a long walk and then a reward
The old couple walks towards me, he with a cane and she in a green spring jacket.
They're familiar to me, and if you've read this, they're familiar to you, too. It's the older couple I see almost every day on my walk with my little pug in the early morning.
When I wrote about them before, she had a brick-red winter coat on. It was cold, but now, there are daffodils springing up and waving their cheery heads at us and so she's switched to her green jacket.
"Well, there's my Daisy!" he says to little pug, and she sticks up her squished-in nose for a pat just where she likes it best, under the chin.
He bends down—carefully, he's carrying a cane, you know—and scratches his Daisy, who then shows her appreciation by licking his knee. For some reason.
"Oh, I see you have running shoes on," he says to me. "Are you a runner, then?"
They both look at me expectantly and with smiles of pride already itching at the corners of their mouths. Even if I weren't actually a runner, I would lie to them, just to see them smile, I think.
They are the kind of people who make you feel full but at the same time hungry for more of the day, for more people, for more smiles, for more conversations. I don't know how they do it, although I think their secret is in old age, a life spent together, and a good walk every morning.
"Yes, I run," I tell them, and she claps a little.
She really does. She throws her head back and she throws her hands together, and she says, "Oh, that's so wonderful for you!"
I tell them about my 10-mile race coming up and we have a little moment imagining Daisy trying to run with me, and then she says, "Yesterday, we walked all the way to the school on Main Street. You know which one I'm talking about? That was like a marathon for us. But then we got to have a bagel."
And that sounds like a good day to me: a long walk and then a reward.
It can be a long anything, you know. A long day at work. A long run. A long conversation. A long to-do list.
And then a simple little reward: I like this idea.
"All right, we have to get to church now," they told me, and Miss Daisy and I turned, our shadows stretching long in front of us as we walked away from the morning sun.