Monday, October 04, 2010

my old lady.

Every weekday morning I follow the same routine. My alarm goes off at 6am (Portuguese talk radio on full blast). I hit snooze until 6:40am and then drag myself out of bed (cursing myself for not getting up earlier). Start the coffee, get in the shower, dry off, pour coffee. Head back into the bedroom and make a racket to “help” Scott get up so he can feed and dress the kids. Out the door by 7:45am if all goes well. Drop Cam off at daycare. Drop Max off at JK. Hustle hustle hustle to work.

I take the same route without fail. The traffic is light because I’m heading northwest while everyone else is heading southeast. I know which drive thru will have the shortest lineup for coffee and I hit the same red lights like clockwork. I always slow down before I turn the corner where the police like to nab folks for driving 10km over the speed limit. And I know how late I’m running depending on how far up the road the elderly lady and her dog have made it when I turn onto the gravel country road that I use as my short cut.

I’m intrigued by this woman, who I have nicknamed “my old lady”. I don’t call her that to be disparaging, if anything it’s a term of endearment. She is bone thin, with chin length whispy white hair, and every morning she takes her dog (a beautiful golden retriever) for a walk. Clad only in an old fashioned nightgown and a light coat, her feet stuck in winter boots, she keeps her pooch on a tight leash. Never smiling, her face is a blank slate. I wonder what her story is, if she lives alone out here in the country. Is she a grandma? Do her kids come to visit her? How old is her dog? Does she like to read?  Is she in good health? What is she thinking about? Is she lonely? Or maybe she just started the coffee so that when she returns to her house, she can pour herself a cup and make a racket to get her own crew up and at ‘em. I wonder. I never see her on my way home at night, only in the morning.

I haven’t seen her in over a month. At first I thought that maybe she had gone on vacation. Visit her kids maybe? A trip to Florida with her friends? Maybe she’s up at her cottage? I figure everyone has the right to be away for a week or two. But she hasn’t resurfaced, and it has been over 4 weeks as of today. It appears that “my old lady” has vanished. It’s weird not seeing her. Maybe she just changed the time of day she walks her dog. Interesting how I notice the absence of someone I’ve never met, who has no idea how much I count on seeing her every morning.

I hope she’s walking her dog tomorrow. I miss her.


  1. Maybe its too cold to get out that time of day now. I remember an old lady neighbour (Beattie) I had, who would not come out all winter and just bake cakes and send them to us (which was just dandy of course). Hope you see her too!

  2. There is a man who is a runner and he runs the length of Lakeshore from mid town to the east and back again like clockwork every day all year long. We see him in the hottest days of summer, and in the chill of winter. Crazy part is he would fall into the same category as your old lady. We call him "old man running". Each step is as if it might be his last. Yet he has been running this route for years.
    He vanished also for a good month, but Keith saw him a few weeks back and I haven't seen him yet, but I know that he is okay. I feel happier knowing that he is still doing his thing. It's not wierd at all Katrina, it's human.


  3. I'll keep my fingers crossed! Happy to know I'm not the only person who has a one way relationship with a stranger.