When you're out at 5am walking around your neighborhood you come to know the paper guy driving around in his beater, the joggers huffing and puffing, the busy Mom's paired up together getting some exercise in before the kids wake up.
This Spring Joe and Betsy started walking the hood. Both are in their early 70's and could be considered "retired" except for the fact that they both pick up part time work in their respective fields so they're busy folks.
We would pass each other every morning as we did our laps and say a word or two. The pup's got to liking the "Hello" pats, scratches and attention they received from them. When Ginny and Casey would see them down the road it was all I could do to rein them in they'd get so excited.
One day when I ran into them I turned around and started walking with them in the direction they were headed and a friendship began. It's the rare day that we don't walk together even if it's just for a little bit because one of us has slept in or the other has to leave early for work.
They both started walking this year as rehab after Joe's surgery. Joe had been suffering from increasing pain in his hip and it got so bad that he finally went in to the doctor. Turns out he had a mass between his hip and kidney that they suspected was cancer. He went into surgery with the intention of a little, bitty biopsy scar but came out of surgery cut stem to stern.
Joe's comment to me was "I think the surgeon got a little excited." Turns out he has cancerous masses all over the place so they left everything alone and closed him back up. Chemo and radiation are not advised because the masses are too close to vital organs. He's stable for now, nothing is growing but I didn't really ask him about a prognosis. He didn't offer one which leads me to believe that "It is what it is and you'd better make the best of what the day has to offer."
Betsy stopped walking about a month ago with a foot issue that has flared back up. She's back in her boot. And while it's nice to have her along, walking solo with Joe has allowed me to get to know him better.
Joe and I meet up most mornings. I'll toss the dogs back in the house after a mile and continue on with Joe for a couple more as we gab about this and that. Where we've been, what we do, what we think about stuff going on in the world. We don't talk about anything too serious. Just stuff.
I've really come to enjoy my mornings with Joe.
I know it won't last forever.
But I'll take what I can get today and let tomorrow take care of itself.
I think Joe would second that thought.