Thursday, September 13, 2007
Taking My Time
I was walking Amy this morning when we came upon a little old lady making her way slowly down the main road. She looked frail and she was walking, with some difficulty, using a cane. Conscious of Amy's addiction to coming face-to-face (or rather tongue to face) with anyone she meets, I carefully steered her into the grass verge to let the old lady pass by : but she stopped and bent to give Amy a pat on the head. Glancing in the direction of the main road down to Brighouse she said "Am I alright for the back door of the Crematorium?" My deafness has taught me to pause for a moment before answering a question just to mentally double-check I had heard things properly. Thus I worked out she was probably asking for directions and there is indeed a footpath that leads to the Crematorium about a quarter of a mile down the road. I explained the distances involved and the somewhat uneven state of the path. "Look", I said, "I live just around the corner and I have my car there, why don't I give you a lift?" She looked at me kindly. "No thanks", she replied. "It's a bit before I need to be there and I am in no hurry. I'll just take my time". We parted and I thought about this strange conversation. Had I, in fact, interpreted her question correctly? Why was this elderly woman making her way so slowly and with such difficulty to the Crematorium. At the corner of the road I glanced back to the main road. I realise that a perfect ending to this little story would be that the lady had vanished. The odd thing, the really odd thing, was that she had. I have been feeling a bit fed up these last few days. Not depressed or anything like that, just a bit down. The reason why is probably not hard to work out. A friend and a colleague from Marsden Jazz Festival died last week after a very short illness. He is the second member of our small Committee to have died in less than a year. Such things just remind you of mortality and all such things. He will be cremated on Monday at the Crematorium : and I will go. But if I see the little old lady there I will give her the knowing look of a visitor who is just passing by. I too, am taking my time.