The Blue Cap

She wears a dark blue raincoat on this cloudy day, and a lighter blue cap, something out of the sixties. I can imagine her then, a young woman, wearing one to a party, dazzling with her golden hair and brilliant smile, charming them all.

Now her hair is white. And white tennis shoes. Always the white shoes.

And alone. Always alone. Except for the dog.

Her dog is smallish and also white, like most of the dogs in this community. For some reason, they are the canine of choice, maybe because they don’t eat much or fit just so on an eighty-year old lap.

As she walks, she sways side to side. Maybe her hips don’t work as they used to or she is shielding her knees. Still she walks. Twice a day. Every day. At a good pace relatively. Holding tight to the leash. As though something about it keeps her upright.

I walk past her and smile, saying Good Afternoon. She doesn’t seem to recognize me, though we have passed a few times before. Her face brightens and she smiles, but she doesn’t speak back. Unused now to speaking to anyone, except her children on the phone every few weeks.

She is alone. Always alone. Except for the dog, who is now the beneficiary of all the love and care she has stored up since her husband passed.

So she walks every day. Rain or shine. In peril of falling every step it seems to me. I worry for her.

She is alone. Yet there are many like her here in this community. She passes them every day. They have never spoken yet they know each other.

As she passes me, I turn and watch for a second.

Maybe this is not her story. Maybe she has a family close to her, who visit most days, like my next door neighbor. Maybe her husband does the laundry and she walks the dog for exercise. I don’t really know.

But as I imagine her, she is a reminder.

And a warning.

And an inspiration.

I will find my blue cap.

Comments 4

 
Rosy Cole on Saturday, 04 May 2019 15:40

Such humanity and empathy here. Clear and natural as a mountain stream. This lady is no member of a cardboard crowd. If only we all paused to consider...how it might change us...and where might the world be now?

Such humanity and empathy here. Clear and natural as a mountain stream. This lady is no member of a cardboard crowd. If only we all paused to consider...how it might change us...and where might the world be now?
Stephen Evans on Saturday, 04 May 2019 22:13

Thank you Rosy! Yes, I agree - just just a few moments pause each day - for awareness. Like everyone else I find it hard to rise above the cacophony, but there is richness to be found when I do.

Thank you Rosy! Yes, I agree - just just a few moments pause each day - for awareness. Like everyone else I find it hard to rise above the cacophony, but there is richness to be found when I do.
Ken Hartke on Saturday, 04 May 2019 17:50

There is something to be gained by living in a walkable community. I really don't -- I would have to walk four miles to a store -- but I can walk just for the exercise, and never meet a soul. In this case, there is something of a relationship...a recognized face or an anticipated meeting. You will worry if you don't see her. I have a friend with some health difficulty who walks her dog a few times a day. When I visit I offer to take the dog, Charley, for his walks and the folks I meet recognize the dog but not me. They wonder what happened to my friend...is she okay? There is probably some relief when she is back on the sidewalk with Charley after a day or two. She and Charley are part of the comfy "furniture" that make up the neighborhood.

There is something to be gained by living in a walkable community. I really don't -- I would have to walk four miles to a store -- but I can walk just for the exercise, and never meet a soul. In this case, there is something of a relationship...a recognized face or an anticipated meeting. You will worry if you don't see her. I have a friend with some health difficulty who walks her dog a few times a day. When I visit I offer to take the dog, Charley, for his walks and the folks I meet recognize the dog but not me. They wonder what happened to my friend...is she okay? There is probably some relief when she is back on the sidewalk with Charley after a day or two. She and Charley are part of the comfy "furniture" that make up the neighborhood.
Stephen Evans on Saturday, 04 May 2019 22:14

Community is just the word, Ken.

Community is just the word, Ken.
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Latest Comments

Rosy Cole Florence
17 June 2020
Thank you for your delightful comment. It is good to reflect on a way of life that has been lost.
Stephen Evans Florence
16 June 2020
Enjoyed this so much. Charming, evocative, and lyrical.
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