Posted by: JDM..... | July 13, 2012

Walking to the Post Office….

another epiphany ………

It was still early but it was already 80 degrees out and the humidity was giving the temperature a fair run for its money. It was eight-thirty so the mail would up at the local Post Office. It wasn’t going to get any cooler, so I headed out on foot to see if there was anything there for us besides gaudy announcements from Publisher’s Clearing House that I was right on the verge of suffocating under a pile of hundred dollar bills, or crap from The Scooter Store and geriatric parasites hawking an infinite menu of widgets, doohickies, and other transparent excuses for presuming access to my wallet.

Fools.

Ever since I first joined AARP my junk mail shifted from Nordic Track and invitations to start an IRA or 401K to truckling avowals of elder-love from adult diaper companies and anyone who bought my personal information from some Cyber Pimp and got sucked in by rumors of my impending wealth a la PHC. Fat chance! I’ve got a window and an old pot to throw out of it, but at my age it can be difficult to pee sometimes…..

But, I digress. On the way to the Post Office, which is only about 1,100 feet down the road in our little village, I met one of my neighbors walking back the other way.

I see Eldon walking just about every day, year round. If I drive in to town early, I usually pass him on the highway, always wearing a bright orange hunting vest or cap, and moving along at a respectable clip for a senior citizen. Later, I might pass him on the way back, so it was clear that he walked a good five mile round trip. Somewhat to my embarrassment, I also see him sometimes when I’m short on motivation to walk and I drive to the Post Office instead.

“Warm one, isn’t it?” Eldon offered with a smile, crossing the street towards me. I’d seen him taking his morning walks since we moved to the village six years ago, and walking with his wife to the little church three doors down from us on Sunday mornings, but I’d never had a conversation with him before. I introduced myself.

Our chat was one of the more pleasant interactions I’ve had in recent years. I remarked about his energetic walks, and he described his usual route, which sounded like it was a bit longer than I had guessed, but added that he had “shortened it a bit” in deference to the heat.

I learned that Eldon turned 90 in January and that he had built his neat little home down the street from my own in 1948. That was after he got home from four years of military service, including World War Two.

He told me how he had been all over North Africa, but “when Eisenhower took over, I guess he’d decided to make Europe his thing,” so Eldon had been transferred to Italy. He said he’d been from one end of it to the other and was probably headed for D-Day participation, but “they finally caught up with me,” he said calmly.

“I was shot up pretty bad…. was in the hospital for six months before I could come home.”

We chatted a bit more, including a few airplane stories because, in addition to everything else, he had been a pilot. “Yep, my wife and I used to fly all over the place….had a little Cessna….”

We shook hands and he headed toward his house while I continued on to the Post Office. I noticed that I was standing a little straighter and walking tad more like it was a hobby instead of a task.

I picked up the daily junk mail (AARP, PCH, and free “shopper” newspaper), and made the return trip.

I think I sucked my tummy in a bit when I walked by Eldon’s house.

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