Friday mornings are special to me.
Not because the weekend is almost here. Since retiring, weekends don’t mean as much as they used to.
But it’s the one day a week I walk at the mall without my wife.
Huh? you protest. You like walking without Kathleen?
Definitely not. She and I have a great time walking together Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. We also walk sometime during the day on Saturdays. And we often do so much talking that our twice-around-the-mall loop goes very quickly.
But Wednesday nights and Sundays are out, and Kathleen’s not available any other time. I need one more walking day, and Friday is normally it.
So, you ask, what makes the Friday walk so special?
I’m glad you asked.
I go early in the morning–usually around 8:00. The only people there are security people, a few store employees setting up for the day, and a number of other walkers. The sense of trust is so great that most of us walkers feel quite safe leaving our coats at tables in the empty Food Court. I sure wouldn’t do that when the mall has other people.
I often start by walking to my left–against the flow of traffic, as it were. Not many yards into my walk, I’m apt to run into another walker. Rarely is it someone I know personally; only one person from the past walks at the same time I do.
Not always someone I recognize from previous Fridays, either. But that doesn’t matter. Walkers seem to share a sense of camaraderie.
Very seldom does the other person fail to respond to my pleasant greeting–or perhaps to greet me first. That happens throughout my walk.
I really enjoy noticing the variety of walkers. I’m apt to see a pretty even mixture of blacks and whites. Practically never do I see anyone I recognize as Latino or Asian.
Although I’m far from being the only person walking by himself, I frequently see groups of two or three people. They’re not always doing the fastest walking, but they seem to be having a great time socializing. I must admit I get a little jealous of the fun they’re having together.
Gee, in seven or eight years, Kathleen will be able to retire. Hope I’m still up to walking by then.
Sometimes I count the closed stores and marvel at the ingenious places that have opened (see my earlier post about what’s happened to malls). Sometimes I pray–for the other walkers, the mall employees, and shoppers who’ll start showing up in another hour or two.
I continue speaking to other walkers and try to keep straight which ones I’ve already greeted. That’s more of a problem than you might think. I’ve always been horrible at remembering faces.
The walking stick I bought several months ago in California–made in Texas, of all places–attracts a lot of attention. Mainly because it’s longer than the ones I’ve made myself.
I don’t know whether I’ve given you an adequate understanding of what I enjoy about my Friday walks, but I’m fairly certain I’ll really bore you if I say much more.
The fans of any given athletic team automatically have something in common, no matter how they differ as individuals. My fellow mall-walkers and I are that way, too.
Do you associate with people you have something special in common with? How about sharing a comment?
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“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE . Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.
My new novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is out now. If you’re interested, look for it at Amazon.