I took my two younger children for a walk on the Radnor Trail, and we were picking raspberries and taking pictures of all of the beautiful things in nature that we saw. We only had about an hour, because both of them had things they were doing later. Joseph had been invited to a pool party that started at 1:00, and Christina was going to the movies with her big sister who was going to pick her up around 1:00. I figured that was plenty of time to walk for maybe a third of the trail, and get a pint or two of berries.
We walked around and got a few nice pictures. There’s one spot where we stopped and got most of the berries we ended up taking home for the day. It was starting to get kind of late – around 12:15. I was planning to head back no later than 12:30 so there would be enough time for the kids to get to their activities. I told them we’d walk to the area near the art center, take a few pictures, and then turn around and go home. The spot by the art center is really cute – a small flower garden, some tiny birdhouses affixed to the fence, and some other decorative items. Across from the flower garden is an area with rustic looking fences made of branches, some statues, and a little platform also made of branches. I knew we could get some nice pictures, and it wouldn’t take long.
As soon as we got to that area, I started to take pictures of the little birdhouses. There was an elderly man sitting on one of the benches. He made a comment about bird watching. The next thing I knew, we were all having a very pleasant conversation. He told us that he had grown up in that area, and had moved around, but came back to his home base. He said he came back for the people.
In a short time, we talked about so many things. I don’t remember everything, and definitely not the order of the conversation. I asked the kids later what they remembered, and wrote down what all of us remembered. I wanted to write it down, and share it with everyone.
The man said he had lived on the west coast for a while, and had been a scout master. He asked if we could do bird calls. My daughter said she could only identify a crow call. He said crows are the only bird found all over the world.
We told him we were picking berries, and I offered him some. He took a few and said they were good. My daughter offered him one of the few blackberries we had picked. They aren’t quite in season, so they were still a bit sour. He seemed to enjoy all of the berries, though.
We talked about gardening. He said he used to have a garden. He said he started with marigolds and zinnias because they were easier!! I told him I’ve had gardens for years – it started before my youngest was even born – just a few tomato plants in the side yard. My kids told him about all of the kirby cucumbers we are getting. There are only three plants, but they’re already taking over a huge part of the garden!
He mentioned that he feels that technology is messing things up for us. I said we agree. My daughter and I ignore our phones most of the time. My son told him he’s going on a two week camping trip again this summer, with no technology at all. I think that’s a good thing for him! The man said he does do email, but still writes letters to his grandchildren so they’d have something they could keep. I think that’s a wonderful idea.
He asked how much longer the trail was – he had come from the opposite direction, and said he hadn’t been the whole way to the other end of the trail yet. We weren’t sure, but thought maybe another mile. I asked if he was going to go the rest of the way. He said he wasn’t because he was still recovering. He made a gesture that suggested that he had had open heart surgery. I told him (quite honestly) that he looked really good – not at all like he had recently had surgery. I never would have guessed.
I was sad to have to tell the man that we had to go soon. I explained that my son was going to a pool party, and my daughter was going to the movies with her older sister. He said it was too nice out to go to the movies! I said that’s why we were out before the movie, and that we could always go out after the movie ended.
We talked for a few more minutes, but then my alarm went off. We talked for another few minutes more. My son and I shook his hand before we left. I apologized and said I wished the kids didn’t have their activities until 2!
When we got home, the kids quickly got ready. My husband took my son to his pool party (he was a little bit late), and my daughters went to the movies. For a short time, I was alone, and had time to reflect on our adventure on Radnor Trail.
I really enjoyed the time we all had to talk together, but really wished we were able to spend more time with the man we met. We never even exchanged names. I wonder if we’ll ever run into him again. If not, I feel lucky to have had the limited opportunity to spend with him. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see him again, though.