Most days I drive the 17 miles from my home in the southern end of Salt Lake County to my office in downtown Salt Lake City by way of surface streets rather than by way of the freeway. I generally avoid the freeway on my way to work because frequently there is a car crash or some other event that slows traffic down to a crawl. My return home at the end of my business day is generally also accomplished by way of surface streets.
Each morning I leave my home between 6:15 and 6:30. In the summer it is that time of day when the night has left but yet the sun has not yet come up. Its dawn, when the sky is starting to lighten up but the moon, the stars and some of the planets are still shining. As I drive to work the sky continues to lighten. When I look out toward the western part of the Salt Lake valley, I see the sun is shining on the Oquirrh Mountains and the adjacent west side neighborhoods. The moon has such beauty at this time of morning that I occasionally will pull over to the side of the road just to look at it.
My usual route is to drive down 1300 East from 10600 South to the Van Winkle Expressway at about 5200 South. Each day I pass the same homes, schools and businesses. I have come to know and recognize their normal early morning look. I recognize the cars in their driveways. I can see if the newspapers have been delivered or whether the paper boy is running late.
For the last month or more, I have driven past an elderly couple walking on the west side of 1300 East between 6600 South and 6200 South. This couple intrigues me. They appear to be in their late 70’s. Every day he is dressed in long gym shorts and a white tee shirt. He wears a hat. The same type of hat that the golfer Byron Nelson wore. In his right hand he holds a walking stick.
His female companion, who I assume is his wife, wears a white blouse. She wears what, during my boyhood, were called pedal pushers, but in more recent time are referred to as capris. Hers appears to be denim.
Each day I look forward to seeing this couple. I wonder about them. I have passed them no less than 30 times this summer. Here they are walking down the sidewalk before the sun comes up; wearing essentially the same outfits each day. The most remarkable thing is that every time I see them they are holding hands. Each day they walking down the sidewalk he with his hat on his head and holding his walking stick holding hands with a handsome elderly lady. Are they an old married couple, 50 or more years together whose hands now fit together? Their hands aging over the years, transforming from the hands of young people to the weathered, leathery hands that come with age. Or are they experiencing new love, joined together after previous spouses have passed on. Are they holding hands to protect each other from the physical imbalances that the elderly sometime have to deal with or is it an expression of love? They don’t seem to be in conversation when I pass them. They are just silently walking together before the sun comes up.
As I pass them I am flooded with memories of my father’s parents, my grandfather and grandmother. Whenever they drove together in a car or a pickup, he had his left hand on the steering wheel and his right hand resting lovingly on her knee. It was though his touch of her knee provided a reassurance to each of them; that things were alright and they were together.
I hope that in twenty years I am holding hands with the Lovely Sharon, walking down a sidewalk somewhere. Communicating silently through our hands, no need for words, watching the morning sky and content to be walking with the woman I love.
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- The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
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- The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
- Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
- Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
- Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
- Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
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- Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Posted by Bud Headman at 4:39 AM
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What a tribute to aging. I, too, hope that in twenty years I will be walking beside the one I love, the one I have grown up with, holding hands.ReplyDelete