I first noticed him last fall. The days were getting shorter. I saw him as I drove to school, the mornings were dark, and soon would be darker. He walked slowly, along the side of the road, no sidewalks this far out of town. His feet were barely moving, his shoulders stooped and his stomach rounded, with his head down he looked miserable. Trudge, I thought, as I noticed him day after day. He did not swing his arms or even smile as he walked. He trudged.
All winter long I saw him. Our scheduled meshed, he’d be walking somewhere along the cemetery as I drove to school. I saw him nearly every day, snow or mud. Reliable, I came to expect his slow march. As summer break gave me later awakenings and less frequent morning drives, I forgot the morning walker.
Each August our local town holds a Summerfest. The weekend before Labor Day the town is full of craft tents, beer tents and even a 5 and 10 K run/walk. Monday as I drove to school early on this soon to be fall morning, I was delighted to see my faithful friend walking proudly wearing a Summerfest Walk/Run 2012 T-shirt. The shirt looked good, and so did he.