Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Kind Old Man & The Bench

Friday Morning

Friday September 2nd 2016 was mostly like any other day for me.  I had things I needed to take care of such as a couple of minor errands.  I was also running around part of town on foot with a fellow neighbor.  That morning the sun was shining exceptionally bright, yet it wasn't too warm nor was it too cold.  It was just as Goldilocks put it after she tasted each bowl of porridge.  "It was just right."

My neighbor and I started our adventure off that morning heading down to Main Street here in Nashua to a small store called, "Tobacco Outlet."  From there we briefly parted ways as she was headed down a different street to the public library and I was headed further up the street to my bank.  I agreed to meet her there shortly as I needed to print some legal paperwork out.  We waved at each other and said our goodbyes and that was it.  

As I walked along the traffic was as it normally was- going at a medium flow.  I'm a medium to fast walker so I made it to my bank fairly quickly.   I wasn't going to be long as I only needed to fetch some rolls of quarters so I could do laundry later this week, and pay for my prints at the library.  

When I stepped into the bank I was met with a not-so-unusual sight on a Friday morning.   The bank lobby was quite full.  So the tellers were working as quickly as they could to service customers.  When it came to be my turn I was quite surprised that the teller remembered me, but then she stated it was somewhat because of my accent.  I've been living in New Hampshire for almost four years now and have yet to lose my Texas accent and I hope I never do.  After getting my quarters and thanking the nice lady I promptly left the bank so I could begin making my way over to the library.

The Library

Once I finally reached the library I quickly located my friend and sat down at a computer to begin work on my legal documents.  I worked as diligently as I could because I wasn't sure when my friend would be ready to leave,  as I knew she had one more place to go and I was looking forward to going there as well. It was actually all for nothing, worrying I mean. I had plenty of time to make a few minor corrections AND print my documents out.  I managed to finish just as my friend was getting ready to leave.   

As we are leaving the library she started having problems with her leg.   She then said she was going to sit on the bench nearby and wait for the bus and asked if I could meet her over there, mainly since I am pretty healthy and can walk fast.  I told her that was more than fine.  It would also give me time to stop by the pharmacy on the way and pick up two prescriptions.  We said our goodbyes and I walked off down the street leaving my friend there sitting on the bench in the mid-day sun.

The Pharmacy

I made excellent time after leaving my friend just outside the library and got to the in-house pharmacy at this counseling center I go to once a week.  While I was waiting for my two prescriptions on file to be filled, my therapist (yes I see a therapist) came down to reschedule my appointment since I missed it the day before due to emergecy dental surgery.  While she and I talked an issue regarding some drama with another neighbor came up.  It was a neighbor that had been sexually harassing me.  My therapist wants me to move,  but I'm not letting some horny old goat chase me away. I told also her as such.  

We talked about a couple of other things, had a few laughs and by that time my prescriptions were ready.   I thanked her for being there for me, being a very kind person,  fetched my prescriptions after paying for them and left.   My next destination was Shaw's Supermarket to meet up with my neighbor/friend to go shopping.

Shaw's 

When I arrived at Shaw's near the bench I didn't see my friend in sight yet so I assumed the bus hadn't made it around to the library yet.  There was however an old man wearing a tan ball cap that said Army on the cap and he was wearing a black Army Reserve Keychain around his neck.  He was wearing a navy blue shirt and a tan pair of cargo shorts.  He had with him also a cane and I did observe he had some kind of knee brace over his left knee.  What hair he had left that could be seen coming from beneath the edges of the cap had gone a bright silver-white long before possibly.  

Before he had a chance to speak with me,  a former resident of the rooming house I live in came walking up to me and the bench.   We exchanged a mild friendly greeting nothing more.  Apparently he had just came from working out at the gym inside the shopping plaza and was about to head home.  He asked what I was doing there at Shaw's and I told him.   We each then said our goodbyes then he left.

The old man behind me on the bench then asked me if I knew what time the bus might be coming.  I replied to him that was just what my acquaintance and I were speaking about and the bus should be coming shortly. The old man then proceeded to then engage me in further conversation.  Initially I thought, "Oh god! This guy's gonna talk me to death!"  

I only thought that initially because people way older than me always bothered me for some reason or another.  Don't get me wrong.  I'd give them their due respect.  I was raised deep south mostly and old south so I learned manners the hard way growing up.  However, the more I listened to this kind gentleman talk about his family and the town he grew up in and where he was originally from I realized something.  It was the most pleasant conversations I've had in a long time.  This man actually reminded me of my grandfather in quite a few ways.  He had problems with his kidneys, arthritis, diabetes.  Yet here this man is almost 69 years of age walking to the grocery store with a knee brace.  He refuses to give up on life and let life drag him down.  

This man on the bench talked about growing up in Massachusetts before moving to New Hampshire.  He talked about having family in Rhode Island.  He talked about having 4-5 grandchildren.   When he mentioned having grandchildren I stated, "I bet you're proud of those grandchildren."  I asked him that because I know my grandpa was and is proud of all of us.  Keeping the same smile on his face throughout our entire conversation he replied that he was.  The two of us also discussec the current storm situation out in the Atlantic.  Although by the time I will have written and posted this blog, most of that will likely have past.

The old kind man and I seemed to have a good rapport.  The only regret I have from that day is that I didn't ask his name.  It wasn't long after our conversation started winding down, mostly because it was hot and I finally sat down that the bus finally came.  As the doors opened and I saw my neighbor getting off, I waved goodbye to the kind old man and I wished him well.