A Walk in the Park

The other morning, my 10:00 AM appointment cancelled on me. Don’t cry for me. It’s okay. I’m used to getting stood up. It takes me back to high school where I got turned down and stood up all the time. I was a band nerd and I got stood up. Go figure. To be fair, I was a drummer, the coolest of the band nerds, and a lean, muscular swimmer. Wait! What was wrong with those girls? I was a catch!

Anyway, I decided to get back on my health kick and go for a walk at a nearby park. It has a winter-like beauty if you like dead plants, mud and birds frozen to branches. I’m more of a spring and summer kind of guy myself with lots of greens and animals that function above freezing. This walk in the park helped me realize something. I may be middle aged (assuming I’ll make it to 100) but I’m a youngster compared to the other codgers who walked along the gentle paved trails mid-mornings.

Me: Morning!

Codger 1: Hey. (with a notable lack of enthusiasm.)

Me: Howdy!

Codger 2: (mumble mumble mumble with a greater lack of enthusiasm)

Me: Hi!

Codger 3: (a glare that asked what I’m doing in his park and questioned the legitimacy of my parentage.)

Me: (silence as I avoid stares)

Codgers 4-9: (No idea because I didn’t make eye contact.)

Do you ever feel like your trespassing in a curmudgeon convocation? I think I was. Everyone there could remember when Kennedy was shot. I was unwelcomed because I could not. In fact, when I first joined the working world, I was teased countless times about not being able to remember what I was doing when John F. Kennedy was shot. I pointed out that happened in 1963 and I was born in 1968. That got a laugh.

Then they asked about Bobby Kennedy. I was two months old. No memory. Finally, one day I got frustrated and asked in mock shock, “Ted Kennedy got shot?!” Kiddies, Edward “Ted” Kennedy was the little brother of Jack and Bobby Kennedy. He is best known as a senator and other things that I choose not to mention in an effort to focus on the positive things of the world. He was not shot.

I’m believe the next time I go for a walk along that trail, I should add more gray to my already fading (and falling) hair. I don’t think they’ll accept me as one of their own but perhaps they won’t follow me around the park. To be fair, they had to take turns watching me from various park benches. Most of them were whispering into cell phones with scowls on their faces. Perhaps they were getting orders from an equally cranky wife who wanted them to pick up a quart of milk, a pound of butter, and all the Metamucil in Kroger. Or perhaps they were plotting ways to get rid of the young whippersnapper who invaded their domain.

My wife thinks I’m paranoid but she can’t explain why there are tracks from six distinct walkers where my car was parked.