I felt relieved when I saw my neighbor Angelo out walking again last night. He turned 92 on Saturday, Oct 8, and I hadn’t seen him out since a day or two before that. The weekend of his birthday the weather was terrible–torrential rains and wind–and I was not surprised that he stayed in. He had been walking every day and some days twice. He goes up the street and back–about half a mile. In August, two months early, he started talking about his upcoming birthday, and seemingly in anticipation of that event he increased the frequency of his walks. It was as though he wanted to be extra healthy for the big day. Or maybe just make it to the big day.
A few days before his birthday I asked him if his family had planned a celebration. He said, “No, they hardly know I’m around.” He lives in a suite attached to his son’s house. As is his fashion, I suspected that he was being a bit overly humble. It was hard to imagine that they wouldn’t honor such a beautiful soul with a celebration commemorating his 92 years.
Anyway, when I didn’t see him for well over a week after his b-day I got worried. There’s been a nasty cold going around–some superbug that knocks people for a loop for a week or more. Myself and a couple friends have had it and I worried that Angelo may have caught it. It’s no walk in the park even for a young person.
But mostly I worried that maybe he was satisfied with 92 and that he’d given up. I worried that maybe his seemingly joyous anticipation may have in fact been his way of dealing with the stress of getting older. He’s long outlived his wife and well over 90% of his peers. Maybe he thought 92 is enough and I’ll just go quietly into that good night.
I was in the car headed out and I didn’t have time to stop and chat. I waved and he waved back. I sure felt better when I saw him trudging up the street. He’s a living and breathing time machine. I look forward to his comments about the weather (it’s always getting better), sports or politics. He walks erect and his purposeful stride gives me hope.