Friday, April 15, 2011

the stuff that sticks with you

In faded hues of pink and grey, an old woman pushing a shopping cart approached me as I approached her in my search for the "Liquid Nails" I was hunting for at Walmart. She was in her 80's, I guessed.

A younger woman -- perhaps in her 60's -- walked beside the cart the old woman (in what might once have been white socks and slip-on slippers) was pushing. The younger woman walked with the studied pace a mother can employ when accompanying a growing child who wants to do the pushing. I assumed the younger woman was the old woman's daughter.

From a distance of six or seven feet the old woman and I found each other's eyes and smiled an acknowledgment that meant something more than a tacit I-see-you-and-I-see-your-cart-and-I-won't-run-into you. She had a nice smile -- one that accentuated the fact that she had left her false teeth at home.

She smiled.

I smiled.

And then, although we were within touching distance, she raised a right hand sheathed in what once might have been a white glove and waved one small wave, a perfect complement to her smile. Hello-goodbye-happy-to-see you. Or, as Bedouins are said to greet each other in the desert, "I salute you and I thank you for your life."

And then we passed each other.

Later I found the "Liquid Nails" with which I hope to shore up a wiggly baluster.

If the glue holds as well as the old woman's smile did, I will be pleased.

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