Saturday, January 02, 2010

sign of time

from the "estate sale" sign in front of her house, i'm guessing winnifred has died.

there was a time when her twice-daily treks around the neighborhood ranged far and wide. she would walk and stop, observe and inspect, chat and move on. for a long while she was accompanied by her little dachshund, who she always regarded with a look of love in her eyes.

but eventually he got old, and too frail to go along, so she went without him. i remember how sad she was when he died.

her routine continued, never wavering until the day she fell. it was just a misstep off the curb, but of course at her age the ground is far and unforgiving. she broke a couple teeth, and had a black eye, but it was her dignity that seemed the most bruised. she was completely affronted by the notion she could fall -- and be injured! -- on a simple walk.

still, she wasn't deterred. she added a cane to her rounds, and a cell phone, for just-in-case. it wasn't long, though, before the cane was replaced by a walker. it was like her wheeled dais, from which she would tell tales of bootleggers and complicit cops and basement shooting ranges and secret nighttime escapes. all right here in our little neighborhood.

recently her meanderings got shorter, and less frequent. i'm not really sure when they stopped altogether. i knew i hadn't seen her in a while, but that's not surprising given the scarcity of winter daylight. i fully expected to see her come spring, moving slower, maybe, but always forging ahead.

instead, there's an estate sale going on at winnifred's house today. lots of cars are parked along the street, and people scurrying in and out. i don't think she'd like the commotion, nor the thought of perfect strangers pawing over her things.

it makes me sad, so i'm staying far away.

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