Since school let out, we've been pretty consistent with our daily walks -- usually about an hour and a half during which we cover somewhere between 4 and 5 miles. We walk in the heat and we walk in the dark (with our headlamps), and today we walked in the pouring rain.
Walking gives us an opportunity to meet our neighbors as we exchange waves and smiles and the occasional quick comment about the weather. For years, we've smiled and waved with an older neighbor lady who uses some sort of scooter chair for mobility. She always has a friendly greeting and seems remarkably happy and independent in spite of the obvious challenges. We've never gotten to the point of learning her name or telling her ours -- our walking tends to limit interactions to those that can be managed without breaking stride.
About three laps into our wet and soggy walk today, we came around the curve and there, in her driveway, was our friendly neighbor lady -- trying to maneuver into her van, while holding onto her umbrella. It was obviously a struggle, and when we spotted her we immediately left our usual path and went to see if we could help somehow. She'd tied a plastic grocery bag around her head to try and keep her hair dry, and so she could hardly see. When I got to her and asked if I could help, she said, "who is that?"
Laughing, we told her that we were the crazy walking neighbors, and introduced ourselves. She smiled out from her grocery bag hat, and told us that she was "Shirley." I held the umbrella for her, and Master helped her cover the seat of her vehicle with a plastic bag so that it would be protected from the rain while she lowered it out of the van so she could get into it. She made the transfer, and we asked her what we should do with her scooter chair. She rolled her eyes, and declared that it could stay right there; it was "the old one," and maybe the rain would clean it off. Feisty lady!
We tucked her in, closed her vehicle door, and waved her on her way. We finished our walk, and went through a busy afternoon. Later this evening, we drove over by her place and checked it out. The scooter chair was gone and there was a car in the driveway, so we are guessing that Shirley made it home and is tonight warm and dry and safe at home.