Down the Road a Piece
After the ‘glory moment’
Yesterday I saw a man, who two years ago had hiked the entire Appalachian Trail from George to Katahdin in Maine, walking along a sidewalk in our town. During his hike, I followed some of his postings somewhere on the internet. When he returned home and to his job, he appeared happy, actually triumphant. I noticed for awhile he was walking with a woman friend, apparently a romantic venture.
But yesterday he looked sad, perhaps depressed.
What happens to us after that ‘glory moment,’ this man’s being his thru hike.
I know a woman, who is divorced and who picks up her mail in the town where she and her husband operated a business -- at least ten years ago.
Again, like the hiker, these days she doesn’t look happy. Keeping her old post office box makes me think she may be living in the past.
Memories, good or bad. They are yesterday, not today where we are living.
I never can make up my mind which were my glory days. Teaching school? Don’t think so. Being a news reporter and once an editor at a weekly paper? Maybe, but that was a long time ago. Don’t think so. Driving a bus as a retirement job? No.
I’ve also climbed the major mountains in Maine and a couple in New Hampshire. Great memories, but not ‘glory moments.’
My father was an official on the Pennsylvania Railroad and then on the Penn Central Railroad. Was that his ‘glory moment’ after working on the railroad for nearly his entire adult life? I don’t think so. The day after he retired, he took a train to Philadelphia and got a job in a hardware store. Why? He told me he liked tools.
There is a problem with keeping on with the ‘glory days’ of the past. They’re in the past. We’re in the present.
I’ll never climb Katahdin again. Too high, too steep in places for my malfunctioning leg and its walking stick. Instead, I walk on easier trails in the woods. I also work as a volunteer with the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, helping hiking groups find lean-tos along the AT in Maine that are not already “taken” by other groups. I do this at home via Mr. Imac, where I do limp a little heading out to the kitchen for more coffee.
I sort of “live” hike the AT in Maine by doing that at-home volunteering. But only sort of. It is fun helping those groups and getting to know some of them. Not ‘glory,’ but fun nonetheless. And I’m doing that today.
When I’m not driving my retirement-job bus, do I sit around the house and be retired? I love to be at our home in the woods, and when I find time -- not usually a description of retirement -- I get out and watch the weeds grow in our garden.
I’ve been organic gardening since about 1970, but gardening is not a ‘glory’ past. It’s just something I enjoy doing, but no doubt will stop when bending down to watch those weeds grow becomes too difficult.
I love to canoe, but loading it on the car, unloading it at a lake, fighting the growing crowds to get it, the battery, and the electric motor into the water and then out again is getting a bit more difficult each year. one of these years, I’ll probably just not go. I can remember the many years of pleasant canoeing I’ve enjoyed and a few difficult times in the canoe I didn’t enjoy.
But that’s just pleasant memories. No ‘glory day’ there.
Dolores and I have begun some new activities, such as staying over at the Craignair Inn at Clark Island every so often. We sit and watch the ocean and take short walks. Not a ‘glory day’ but enjoyable now.
Some of our trips have led us to boat cruises -- the kind where the boat is always in the water except in winter and where other people are on the boat “oohing and ahing” at the scenery. Also the kind where we don’t have to load the cruise boat onto our car.
We look forward to these today, not yesteryear.
I don’t know if I really have any ‘glory day’ to look back on, which may be just as well, since today seems pleasant enough. (Hey, I can still get up each morning, which some friends tell me is a good thing.)
And with my walking stick, people open doors for me at restaurants and stores. I used to mumble something about the walking stick. Now I say, “Thank you.”
Oh yes, I still write as a freelancer. Some people read it.Book
Now, not in the past of a ‘glory day.’
By the way, Good Reader, thank you -- today.
I hope you enjoy today and can get out of bed tomorrow morning.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013