This morning, during my morning walk, I ran into one of my neighbors. We cross each other’s paths quite frequently, actually; I am always walking, and she is always headed for her daily outings. Rarely are there more words exchanged than a simple, “Good morning” by each of us–but always a smile and wave. This morning, though, our paths crossed at just the right moment for a brief exchange that didn’t require either of us to slow our pace–such different paces they are. Mine: that of a 45 year old man walking at a near-jog, as if his life depends on it–because in a way it does. Hers: that of an older, but nonetheless active and vibrant woman walking slowly, but deliberately, her metal cane astride, as if her life depends on it–because in a way it does.
“We meet again,” she said with the normal wave and smile.
“Yes, ma’am. Same time, same place,” I replied, returning her salute.
“You’re always on the go and I’m always on my way to play bridge,” she said.
I laughed and said, “I’d rather be playing bridge!”
“And I’d rather be walking like you!”
I laughed again and waved one last time, now too far away to continue the exchange.
As I walked on and she drove away, I considered what had just happened. Somehow, knowing that somewhere close by, and likely somewhere not so close, there are quartets of older ladies, all clad in their brightly colored pant suits with matching blazers (hers blue-green) seated around a folding card table covered with a white tablecloth, eating cookies and drinking coffee, talking about the goings on in their lives and maybe doing a little gossiping while playing a card game that they’ve been playing for decades now–somehow the thought that those scenes still take place made me feel a little better about the world.