Most days Molly the Weim and I take our morning walk.
There is a meadow where I let her run free.
She romps and rolls in the white spring flowers chasing imaginary friends, reminding me of the puppy she once was, ten years ago this week. She digs her nose deep into the dirt and smells of her new home.
Her eyes follow the paths of birds and squirrels she is yet to meet. I follow her down the hill as she finds her way to the stream that runs in the springtime.
Always relieved when I come around a bend to see we are alone, no other dogs.
We skip rush hour of early morning and late afternoon.
It's easier this way, even though our community is full of friendly dogs and owners. Molly the Weim is a strong German female, who feels the need to protect her mama no matter the need. Sigh.
Yesterday we followed the tree line and hill to our left and made our way down to the lake where the park opens up in full spectacular view.
It's a lovely picture where on a summer Saturday people are fishing, music playing and children laughing.
Yesterday it was quiet, except for the mower I heard on the high meadow.
There is a large covered pavilion, offering a respite of shade from the Tennessee summer sun.
I spotted a man sitting at one of the picnic tables under the pavilion. As we came closer I could see his back was to me. Molly the weim spotted him too. She was off, ignoring my calls and concerns for both their well beings.
No doubt she was imagining the treats he would throw her way.
It was nearing lunch though she doesn't do lunch and shouldn't be aware.
She is a Weim with the belly of a Lab.
I continued to call her, she continued to ignore me.
When I got closer I saw the man was working on a weed whacker. His coworker was on the sunny side of the hill trimming grass to steep for a mower to cut.
He was a big man, red hair and beard, hard to tell how old as he looked like he had worked hard every day of his life. Perhaps in his sixties.
I noticed blood had dried dark the length of his arm, running in two directions. It had been a fair amount.
He payed no mind to it as he offered a friendly hello and complimented Molly on her beauty.
I asked if his arm was okay. He nodded yes, just a typical days work.
He easily chatted with me as he worked the screwdriver into the greasy weed whacker. His talk was southern through and through, perhaps from Tennessee, maybe right here in East Nashville.
I've found this often in the people and businesses in my part of town.
Many were born here, attended school here and never left. They share stories of homes on my street, owned by an aunt or cousin, sold for a pittance a few years ago.
Things may change but people here hold deep to their ways and memories of their community.
I respect East Nashville and what it has been to the generations before me. I hope it can be held close and preserved as things will no doubt continue to change.
Not an easy task.
I mentioned how lovely the day. He reminded me the real heat would be here soon so enjoy this day.
I said it must be hard work on hot days. He said he was hoping to retire one of these days, and hoped he could still walk.
I looked at his arm, and wondered about his legs.
No doubt this job was difficult for him. Outside work takes its toll on a body over the years.
Perhaps his own health reminded him of his mama.
He told me his mama had suffered a serious stroke in the last 11 years of her life. He said it was a bad one and left her in a bad way.
He cared for her in her home.
He said he got the idea to build her a bunny pen in the yard one day.
He bought white bunnies that she could watch from the window...
I turned away for a minute.
There was something in my eyes.
He said he hoped it gave her some pleasure.
His mama is gone now.
I told him he was a good son.
He said, "Thank you dearie" in the kindest of ways.
Whatever was in my eyes was back.
When people share moments of their life with me, my mind creates pictures. I see this man building rabbit huts, holding the soft white bunny in his massive arms. Could his mama reach out, touching or just watch from a far off place?
I wished him a pleasant day and he said, "You have a good day too dear."
I walked away thinking of how beautiful, painful this life is.
This short mingling of life left me puddle eyed, sad and joyful all mushed together.
I am reminded how we are changed when we meet another God created person.
This southern man, so far removed from anything I know left me humbled by his words and actions.
His gentleness to me, my dog, and his mama....
You were a good son, sir.
Happy Mother's Day mamas.
Hug your babies, no matter how big or small.