Evening came, and I’m not sure if it was the intuition or the need for movement that pushed me the most to talk a walk. I felt I just had to go. As the sun was setting, I let everyone in the house know I was heading out for a walk. It’s a good idea to communicate these events so people do not worry about where you are. My son said he’d join me… so out we went.
Talking about philosophy, education, relationships… pretty much the normal conversation parties we share, we suddenly came upon a wanderer. He was dressed in a shear hospital shirt and pants, slippers and had a hospital bracelet on his left wrist. He asked me, “Is the VA Hospital just a little way up there?” We noticed he was damp from the rain.
“No, it’s actually a ways in the other direction,” I said. “Why don’t you walk with us? We’re going that way.”
He told us about his operation the next day for lung cancer. They were removing a couple tumors. Then he told us about his wife who died in December and how lonely it was. He had a Vietnam Vet hat on, and looked like a pretty cheerful guy. I told him I was going to call my partner and ask him to meet us up at the path ahead. What I didn’t tell him is that he was a couple miles from the hospital.Then I dialed Rich and asked him if he could meet us with his car and that there was a man who needed a ride from there. Fortunately, my partner trusts me, and he said, “Sure.” I knew he was on the way.
“I just went out for a walk to get some air, and I guess I took the wrong path,” the stranger said.
“Oh, well  then you got a nice long one,” I laughed. I slipped off my heavy, hooded sweatshirt, which I was wearing over one of my cozy Columbia jackets.  “Here. Why don’t you just put this around your shoulders to keep some of that rain away,” I encouraged as I wrapped it around him. He was grateful and held it around his shivering shoulders.
As we walked, my son and I talked to him, just chatting like old friends. He told us his name and we told him ours. Soon, Rich drove up and pulling up to the side of Terwilliger Road, he pushed the passenger door open. I introduced the stranger to Rich and said that my partner would be happy to drive him the rest of the way. The man smiled and with my sweatshirt wrapped around him, he slipped into the seat and thanked us.
Watching my partner’s white Honda Prelude drive off, I thought about what a miracle it was that we just happened to be walking along the road when the stranger needed help.  I knew it had been intuition, as so many times I get these feelings to do something with no explanation. Lots of other questions come to mind as I explore this night, but more than anything I felt thankful that I took the walk yesterday evening.