I ended my run this morning with a half-lap around the park. Not far from finishing, I saw a threesome approaching me: A woman, a man, a kid who looked to be their teen-age son.
One of the man's hands tightly grasped a silver polio-type crutch. The other clung to his wife's arm. She in turn had her other arm around his waist. The boy walked barely behind them, as if ready to catch either one should his father stumble, or the crutch get caught on a pebble or a crack in the sidewalk.
I smiled a hello as I ran by. They seemed a bit too intent on the next step to do much more than make eye contact. I wondered whether the man had had a stroke, or if he had some sort of degenerative disease. Either way, I'm guessing they were walking -- not because they wanted to, but because a doctor had stressed the importance of motion.
A few hours later, I was driving to Barnes & Noble. In front of the Tom Thumb at the same shopping center, I motioned to an elderly gentleman to pass in front of me. He smiled and waved with only his pinkie; he needed the remainder of his strength, and his fingers to hold onto the grocery cart he was pushing to his car.
The two scenes lasted barely a half-minute total. But they made me realize a couple of things: How lucky we are to be able to walk, to run, to move on our own. And that no matter if we are or we aren't able, we all need something, or someone, to hold onto; to hold dear. Just in case we ever catch ourselves falling.
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