My walking journey began in September of 2014. I started out on a Labour Day Monday and decided to go for a walk. The trouble was that I was not prepared in any way to haul my carcass down the sidewalks of my Hamilton neighbourhood. I wore the wrong shoes. I didn’t have socks on. I had not taken any water. By the time I was half way around the block I thought seriously of throwing in the towel on the whole project but I still had to get home. So, on I plodded. I was thirsty and I was sweating and I could feel the blisters forming as I trudged my way home. The whole episode was miserable and all I had done was walk around the block.
After that I still got out for a walk every couple of days but walking and I were not going to be friends.
For the first two or three weeks I hated walking and then everything changed. I had been walking down Acadia Drive – almost home. There was a car that was pulling out of the driveway of a house up ahead and it pulled up along side me.
The woman in the car rolled her window down and called out, “keep it up, you’re doing great.” Well that was nice to hear. How great was that?
As I came up to the house that she had left I spoke to the woman who had been waving goodbye from her driveway. I told her that the woman in the car had been encouraging and that I really appreciated that.
She said something along the lines of, “I am a walker too and we all need encouragement.”
I replied, “but you don’t understand, I am not a walker and this is really hard for me.”
With her finger wagging at me, she smiled as she said, “well keep it up, you look terrific, you can do this.”
The next morning when I woke up I realised that I was a walker.
As I set out walking with my new attitude, I walked with no particular route in mind and I was slowly discovering that my neighbourhood was worth getting to know on foot. I started keeping track of each street that I walked down and broadened my travels as I marked off each street that I covered.
It was a number of months afterwards that I set myself the goal of walking every street on the Hamilton Mountain and my walking took me past Acadia Drive many times after that. I wanted an opportunity to thank the two women who were so encouraging. The problem was that I could not recall which house it was. It was probably one of three or four possibilities. But I confess that I could not imagine myself knocking on strangers doors looking for this woman. I assumed that I would never get the chance to thank her.
Then, after a couple of years, I finished walking on all of the streets on the Hamilton Mountain and my walking routes started encompassing the whole city and they rarely took me past Acadia Drive. One November day in 2016 I happened to be heading home down Acadia. Wouldn’t you know it, I saw two ladies leaving one of the possible houses and they were getting into a car.
Now, do I dare ask? What on earth do I say to them?
“Hey, so did you say something to someone two years ago when she was walking past your house?” Well that would be weird. I gave it a try anyways.
I asked her if she was a walker and I tried to explain to her how I remembered a conversation of over two years ago.
The woman said that yes she was a walker.
It took very little conversation for it to become very apparent to me that she was the one.
I had found her.
I found the woman who’s encouraging words helped me become a walker.
Words that had a huge impact on my life. I got the chance to thank her.
Not just cool. Way cool.