I write this post not to receive accolades but rather to express my amazement.
As is the case most Saturdays, grocery shopping was on the list of things that needed to be done. I try and get this done early in the day so that if I forget something, which happens more often than not, I have time to run back in to town and get it. Yesterday I was otherwise occupied and didn't get victuals until around five. Which as it turns out, was a good thing.
Walking to the car with the grocery sacker in tow, (our local grocery store still provides this service, I heart our store) I saw someone walking on the very far end of the parking lot, near the highway, pushing what looked like a grocery cart. My first thought was, 'wow, we have a homeless person in our speck of town?' I then turned my attention to opening the trunk of Ol' Red so Grocery Sacker could load the goods and me be on my merry way.
Driving through the parking lot I once again noticed the homeless person pushing their cart. Turns out this was not a homeless person. It was an elderly woman walking in near darkness pushing her walker. A procession of thoughts went though my head a warp speed, why is this woman out here?, is she lost?, does she have Alzheimer's?, she's going to get hit if someone doesn't stop and pick her up!, okay, V., you stop and pick her up. Which I did.
I pulled over, rolled down the window and asked if she'd like a ride, she readily accepted. I got out of Ol' Red, walked over to her, unloaded the box she had on her walker, which was rather heavy, and helped her into the car. After we were buckled in, I asked her where she lived, thinking she might not know, thinking she might be an Alzheimer's patient somewhere. Not the case at all. Our conversation went like this:
Are you okay?
Yes, I'm just kinda tired.
Where would you like me to take you? Where do you live?
Bradford House. (an assisted living center in our town)
Do they know you're gone?
No, probably not. They're having a big party today so I doubt they know I'm not there.
At this point I was thinking, how can they not know you're gone and how long have you been gone from there? So I asked. Her reply:
Oh, I left this morning and went to the Clothes Closet and then I walked down Montgomery to the church over on 155 then over to Wal-Mart.
I was speechless. If you're from these parts you know she walked a long, long, long way.
The Clothes Closet is a resale shop run by the Methodist church, it's about two miles from where Miss Mary lives. The church she said she went to is about two and a half, almost three miles from the resale shop. From the church to the Evil Empire it's about five miles and at some point she had to cross a busy four lane highway. This is not West Texas, our little town is not flat by any stretch of the imagination. There's no easy way to get from Miss Mary's home to the resale shop. There are three different streets she could take, all of which have ginormous hills to conquer before you reach flat ground. And, there's this little problem that Texas has....no sidewalks! So, Miss Mary had traffic to contend with.
I'd been having a Poor Pitiful Me Party for a few days and was in desperate need of something to get me out of my mood. This was the ticket. Being with Miss Mary for the short ten minutes it took to take her home helped me see that we are the ones that ultimately decide what we're capable of doing. Here she is seventy six years old, walking all over this town pushing her walker and finally at five thirty in the afternoon being too tired to continue on her way home. I was concerned for her safety, our streets aren't very well lit, but I'm sure that had there still been daylight she would have made it home with no problem.
I called today to see if she was okay, the worker chuckled and said she walks to the Clothes Closet all the time. Wow. Just wow. I need some of whatever it is she has.