Sunday, August 24, 2008

Salutations and New Friends

I love the book Charlotte's Web by E.B.White and I have a special affinity for Charlotte the spider. I think I learned the word "Salutation" from reading that book in 4th grade.

Anyway, as I have noted here more than once, I walk every morning, about 4 miles in my community here in the Burgh. I make it a point of saying "Good Morning" to everyone who passes, mostly with positive results (sometimes the teenagers, who are used to being ignored I'm sure, seem a little startled). I got inspired to do this by a woman whose name escapes me, whom I met through La Leche League in 1998, six weeks after Lily, my first child, was born. I remember walking the paths of Arlington, Virginia with her and watching, in disbelief, as she greeted every passerby as if we were in some friendly neighborhood from the 1950s (and we ALL know that No. Virginia, as well as all its counterparts in DC and Maryland, can be less than cordial, as far as cities go). I'd spent my life in that hurried-big-city-living-tunnel, where you rush around not really seeing anyone- just your destination.

Well, as I ventured into the local cemetary for my morning laps, I noticed an older gentleman on the path and shouted a friendly "hello" as I strode by with the jogger. He said "hi" in return then continued to talk, so I ended up huffing and puffing the remaining two miles alongside this eighty-two year old man. He told me about his vacation and his kids and grandkids, while I mostly listened and added an "Oh" every now and again. I was amazed at how little I had to slow down to keep his pace (which says a lot about one of us...). He told of how his wife and parents are buried there and he comes to walk in peace most days of the week. I took one less steep hill than normal because I didn't want to interrupt his story. We parted ways at mile three, as I headed for home.

So here's to salutations and new friends.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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