Friday, August 5, 2011

The Walk

A doggie park is the scene of my five-mile morning walk. It's gentle switchbacks, by no means menacing, can still provide a challenge to an elderly person. Such was the scene I encountered today.

The white-haired older couple and their yellow lab started out at the trail head. We exchanged "good morning" pleasantries, as is the habit when meeting other walkers. I remember thinking, "What a sweet older couple," as we headed out on opposite trails.

On my 2nd lapse, I met the older woman far ahead of the man who was standing on one of the steeper climbs. The woman's sweet demeaner had been replaced with acrid annoyance as she would walk a few steps and look back with an icy glare at the old man. Immediately I got the picture, she resented the fact that he couldn't keep up with her. When I reached the man, he was pale and very still. I could almost hear his racing heartbeats. I smiled and said "Hello again," but he remained breathlessly silent.

As I put distance between us and saw the woman moving still farther ahead, I remember thinking, "This park is really too much for that old man. They should go to a flatter park." My thoughts raced on, scooping out the whole picture. Women that age rarely ever worked, but were free to enjoy their clubs and social life while the husband took on the work burden to provide a comfortable home for the family. Probably chained to an office job that shouted out a life-time of nutritionally poor lunches, lack of exercise and loads of stress, it all took it's toll on the man's health.

All too often women that age forget to honor the man who provided them with a comfortable life. What would it have cost her to wait with her husband and encourage him as he regained his breath. Oh well, it was their pattern of life and I tried not to think about it.

I did think about the glorious mountain air and how lucky we were to live in this magical spot in the universe. And finally, I thought about the cool drink of water I would have from the pump at the trail's end.


  1. Hi Mazanita .. like you I'd have been worried .. I hope he sat down and waited for her ... we don't think of others often enough - even husband and wife .. I hope all was well. The park looks glorious to walk along .. Hilary

  2. Oh dear!! I hope the guy is ok and I hope the couple have patched things up and are now ok too!!

    Yay for a lovely walk for you and your doggie though! Take care

  3. How odd and sad that woman's attitude was. It doesn't paint the picture of a very healthy relationship.

  4. I'm annoyed that the woman was annoyed. It's my opinion that she should have sat wit him while he rested, or maybe gone to get him a drink of water. How could she just walk on?
    Maybe he told her to....

  5. Maybe he leared at some sweet young thing and she punched him in the solar plexes leaving him breathless. You know me for my fence sitting, searching for both sides defect.
    Actually your version is probably correct and very sad. The day may come when she looks back and he won't be there. She will then have regret as a life partner.

  6. In our case I'm afraid it would be me lagging behind while the hubby roams on ahead. Every once in a while I have to remind him that he should check on me occasionally. The old gentleman needs to find his voice and speak up to his wife. It could be she doesn't realize how out of shape he is.

  7. This story made me want to cry.

    I am a firm believer in "as you reap, so shall you sow". Perhaps we should be pitying her for her future.

    xoxoxo, clare

  8. Reading this I felt so sorry for the poor man.
    Hope he decides to go a different route next time.

    Have a good weekend.

    Ps love the name of your blog!

  9. All too often I see elderly couples who don't seem very happy. She's usually annoyed with him and he's dependent on her in so many ways. I see people championing life long marriages, but I have to ask, at what price? Sorry if that sounds cynical....

  10. i'm wondering if the woman may be beginning dementia. so often the agitation and aggravation they experience is a symptom of early stages of alzheimers or dementia. lordy...

  11. Aw, poor guy! Your appraisal of the situation is probably accurate.

  12. Hilary : Thanks Hilary. Always a pleasure to have your insightful comments. The park is a bit of a challenge for the lungs.

    Kitty : Me too, but it looked like a life long habit. Too bad.

    Susan : No, not at all. Quite unhealthy, as a matter of fact.

    River : I considered that but I was younger than my husband and we had the same situation. He couldn't walk as fast or far. Even if he told me to go on, I'd stay with him and when I wanted a more brisk walk, I'd go out alone. I guess that is why I took such a strong notice of the couple.

    Patti : Hee Hee... that would be a more fun possibility. It seems the women who are always so pampered by husbands can't function alone when the man dies.

  13. It's funny how when we see passing strangers, we project all kinds of history onto them. You have a mind like a novelist. Forgive me if you've mentioned it somewhere and I'm just blanking out on it, but are you?

  14. Delores ; Another possibility. She should be beside him and as I said above, go out for a brisk walk later, by herself.

    Oh Clare, how true. From the looks of him, she may have to face that serious possibility all too soon.

    Raindrops and Daisies : You are right. We have so many doggie parks and all at different elevations. There is a flat one within walking distance of my house but I prefer the little hills for some lung exercise.

    Teresa : I know exactly what you mean. I see that too. Everyone longs for a forever marriage but held together by honor and respect.... not dislike and guilt.

    Texwisgirl : I understand. I've witnessed that too. At first you think they are old grouches but it's the early disease setting in. Another fine point you entered.

    Gigi : I did too. It may be correct but some good alternative thoughts have been presented.

  15. Suze : Oh Oh, you got stuck in-between my 2 sets of comments. I used to write short fiction stories when I was young... a few published but that isn't my goal now. I just consider myself a writer's groupie these days. The style of writing has changed so much but thank you for asking.

  16. A shame that the couple didn't seem to be in sync. That old person could have angina or some other problem. The distress of a partners haranging can't be good. You right, a flatter terrain would probably be more appropriate.
    It's a beautiful looking park, but that scene would have ruined my day.

  17. I can't believe a wife would treat a husband like that. I wonder if maybe it wasn't quite as it seemed. Maybe they'd had words and he was taking time out to get over the row. Or maybe he was looking at a beautiful view and she needed to get to a toilet because sometimes older ladies have those sorts of problems. Or am I just trying to be too kind to the old lady.

    It certainly sounds like a wonderful place for a walk.

  18. You gave us food for thought. We've been married for 56 1/2 years & not only do I love my husband, I still LIKE him--2 entirely different things! I'm going downstairs to give him a kiss RIGHT NOW!

  19. There is an old saying.
    Don't Know What You've Got Till Its Gone!

  20. That poor man...his wife must be a holy terror to live with! I hope he survives her, and hooks up with a nice lady.

  21. Living in Iceland was fantastic for our dog, interestingly enough an Icelandic Sheepdog. There were miles and miles of moss-covered lava fields (the lava HAD cooled) on which he could scamper without a care in his little canine brain.
    While living back home is great, our dog no longer has that freedom. Kind of a shame.

  22. That was a sad image of that poor man trying to keep up and the woman up ahead looking irritated. It takes so little to be kind. Too bad.

  23. Anthony : So many times people get so used to having their partner around they forget to honor them. It's a pity because they won't always be there.

    Rosalind : You have a beautiful
    writer's outlook on life. Keep it always.

    Fran : You have such a wonderful and lengthy marriage. I'm glad I'm somewhat responsible for him getting a smooch. (From the food for thought)

    Terry : Truer words.... I miss my husband.

    Susan : Yeah, poor guy but it's most likely too late for a new one. To think people waste their whole life by being grumpy.

    Al : That must have been a fascinating experience living in Iceland. I know so little about it. Yes, lots of restrictions for dogs these day. And for all of us, for that matter.

    Galen : No it isn't. We wouldn't do that to a good man, would we?

  24. I pity that old man. Or is that "resemble?"

    Empathy. Yeah, that's the word. Empathy.

  25. Oh so true, women do forget what men of that era did for them. I would have sat down with him but then I'm not much of a runner. :)

    Ah, mountain air. That brought back memories...
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  26. It's sad how some people can get lost in their ruts.

  27. Bryce : Wellll, it was a mighty steep hill. :)

    Jules : Me either, anymore. Walking is more my speed these days.

    Bish : Rut is an excellent word for it.

  28. What a shame that wife was so impatient and cruel in a way. But then... perhaps there was more to the story than what met the eye. I'm glad you had a healthy walk in a beautiful place.