I’m linking to Inspired Rooms and Melissa’s blog party: A Beautiful Life Friday. Lots of links to meander around with what makes your blog-Peeps lives beautiful…what happened in this story helped make my life more beautiful…thank you George.
We had floods here in Atlanta. It was days on end of stormy skies. Today, finally, the sun peeked out. Like God just lifted the shades and the world was bright and welcoming again. I leashed up my little boy pups and hit the streets. They were so glad to be out. While we were walking we came up on my neighbor.
He’s an elderly man who is in great shape. For the past 15 years we’ve seen him walking his pup, Lady. They walk 4 or 5 times every day, rain or shine. We didn’t know his name but had stopped many times to talk about his constant companion, his pup, Lady.
Today I saw him walking in front of me. My little guys, Boo and Ollie were dragging me up a big hill and we gained on him pretty fast. He was walking slow. And his shoulders were a little slumped. And he was alone.
“Were you getting cabin fever with all the rain?” I asked cheerily coming up beside him.
He smiled and nodded. “I just had to get out and feel the sun for a minute.”
“Where’s Lady today?” I drew in my breath not wanting to hear the answer.
“She’s not with us anymore.” He stopped.
I pulled Boo and Ollie to a hault. They stood still as statues looking up at him like they knew.
I swollowed back a sob, “Oh no! When, how, what happened?” I asked him.
“Just yesterday” he looked at something in the distance beyond me. “She’d been sick with a tumor, and yesterday, well yesterday was just the last day she could stay with me.”
I’m not sure what I said. I was trying not to cry and telling him how sorry I was. I squinted against the sun hoping it hid the tears in my eyes.
“Lady was like my baby. She kept me healthy for all these years.” He seemed to want to talk about her. “I got her when I found out I had diabetes. I knew a dog would keep me walking.” He laughed remembering, “and sure enough 4 or 5 times a day she’d paw at my leg and tell me she wanted to go on a walk. I’ll miss her. You know, I even talked to her like she was a person. She mostly understood me too.” Taking a deep breath in he finished with, ” Yesterday I cried all day.”
We stood there on the side of the road with the sun shinning down on us. We talked about pets and the profound impact they can have in our lives. He told me his wife passed 8 years ago and that all his children were in their forty’s and fifty’s. Said that he was 85 and Lady was his last dog.
“Too old for another one. She’ll be waiting for me when I cross over through the pearly gates.” His eyes misted over and I thought he looked like he wouldn’t mind leaving this world right then.
Finally, I squeezed his arm and told him I’d miss Lady. “She’s a fixture in the neighborhood. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t see the two of you walking.”
“Everybody knew Lady” he smiled. “Funny thing, everybody knew Lady, but they don’t know me.” Pause. Our eyes locked.
My mind scurried for a reply. Surely I knew him…his name is….
Nothing. I could come up with nothing.
It was true. I didn’t know him. Didn’t even know his name.
I put out my hand. “Well, I think you’re right, I only knew Lady. I’m Robin, I live down the street.”
He put his slightly gnarled hand in mine. “Pleased to meet you Robin. I’m George.”
I walked the rest of the way home crying. I cried for George who lost his companion. I cried wondering if George would still walk 4 times a day all by himself. I cried at the thought that sometimes older people become invisible, like George. I wondered if I lived to be 85 would I walk up and down the neighborhood streets all alone? And if I did, would anyone know my name.
At what point, I wonder, would I become invisible?
Some days, time seems like a friend, comforting and secure.Other days it’s merciless, unforgiving and severe. Today is one of those days.
Today Lord, I pray that I see everyone, that no one is invisible to me. That I see people and love them like you do…