Monday mornings are supposed to be blue, but the only thing blue about Monday morning this week was the sky. Paying bills is also supposed to induce the blues, and on Monday I had to attend to the financial needs of the people who attend to my blood pressure, my teeth and my eyes. I put each check in the appropriate envelope, I think. There have been times when I have mismatched the statements and the checks as I put them in the envelopes. But, c'est la vie, the envelopes were sealed and stamped, and I was on my way to the mailbox in the Edgewood Plaza parking lot.
The trip wasn't necessary. I could have put the envelopes in our mailbox and let the mailman pick them up when he made his rounds. But I decided to take the electric wheelchair out for a spin. I might have been inspired to get out of the house by Mary, who walked by as I was writing the checks. She is older than I - well into her seventies, I would guess - walks slowly, has a pronounced limp and uses a cane. But every morning and every afternoon, weather permitting, she walks her dog. It never hurts to be reminded there's no excuse for sliding into slackerdom.
It was a pleasant morning to be out. The sun was warm, but the breeze and low humidity combined to make the summer day more bearable than most this year. Next door, John and Sandy were sitting on their front porch. Not many people do that anymore, especially the thirty- and forty-somethings like John and Sandy. Mom and Dad used to sit out front on summer evenings; Mom on the milk box and Dad on the step. I suppose they talked about my siblings and me and gossiped about the neighbors. These days, I get the impression people gossip more about what they see on television - about the stars they'll never meet and the fictional lives of the characters the stars play.
John said they'd gone to Erie to watch the Seawolves play over the weekend. Then we both had good things to say about the weather, and I went on my way. There was a moment of panic when I got to the Edgewood Plaza. Looking around as I made my way through the parking lot, I didn't see the mailbox and wondered if it had been removed as part of a cost-cutting scheme. But it was there, hidden behind a large truck.
As I meandered home, I passed a mailman making his appointed rounds.
"It's almost perfect today," he said, and I wasn't about to argue.
Then I noticed a woman in the next block crossing the road and pushing what I thought was a stroller. I realized it wasn't when she turned and started down the other side of the street. When she got a little closer, I saw she was pushing a walker.
"It's so nice to be able to get out, isn't it," she said.
Yes, it sure was: the sunlight, the breeze, the birds singing, and cicadas making a racket. A man sat on his front lawn, his back against a tree, playing with his dog. Several people were cutting grass, some others were working in flowerbeds and one woman, as I passed, was sending her son back into the house to get whatever it was she forgot.
It was a good day for a walk, even if my feet never touched the ground. And it was a good way to start the week, even if it was Monday and I had bills to pay.