"I used to live near a park. There was a path around it that was a half-mile loop. Every time I went around, I picked up a stone or leaf. Then I'd count them when I was done walking, so I'd know how far I'd walk. That was the only way I could do it; I could never remember how many times I went around. I walked five miles most days.
"I haven't done much walking the last few years, but the other night, Anna asked me if I wanted to walk. We walked in the buildings, all over the buildings. We walked up and down all the hallways in the C Building, and then we walked up and down all the halls in the B Building. We must have walked a couple miles. Have you ever seen Anna walk? She's no slowpoke; she keeps those little feet moving. I was beat, and Anna wanted to keep walking. She's ninety-seven, and I'm eighty. That's when I decided I need to do more walking.
"Do you ever watch Erris? She moves right along, too, doesn't she. And when you talk to her, she's so sharp. I hope I'm in that good of shape at 105. Erris and Anna are real inspirations for those of us who are still young.
"My mother was active all her life. She lived on a small farm, and when she was seventy, she decided she needed a tractor. So, she bought one. When the guy from Farmall delivered it, she asked him to show her how to work it. He said, he'd only been working at Farmall a days and wasn't familiar with the tractor. So, my mother, who was a small woman, asked him to help her get up on the tractor. He did, and Momma figured it out herself.
"The guy was so impressed, he came back the next day with a welder and a photographer. The welder put something together to make it easier for Momma to get on and off the tractor. The photographer took a bunch of pictures that ended up in Farmall's magazine. They did a three-page spread on her. Then, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer came out, and they did a two-page spread on her."
* * *
A two months ago, someone noticed water in the hallway near my apartment. The maintenance crew was called. They found the leak; it was coming from a pipe leading to my toilet. They didn't have any trouble fixing what had to be fixed. But to get at it, they had to knock a hole in the wall behind my toilet - it looks to be a yard long and two feet high.
Before the wall could be repaired, the area around the hole had to dry. Once the wall dried, the job of repairing it fell to Randy. The morning he came to work on the wall, I was on the toilet. Randy said he'd be back in a few minutes. I told him to take his time; the old bowels don't move often, and when they do, they don't move quickly. Randy never returned to my apartment.
Apparently, my wall isn't the only task Randy has been ignoring. James, another member of the maintenance crew, told me this morning that Randy has been fired. I'll miss him. Randy complained a lot, but he didn't whine. He complained with enthusiasm and humor. Every time he spotted me, he'd yell, "Tom Teeeeee Hall!!!" Then he'd entertain me with stories of all the people who aren't nearly as knowledgeable as he, at least in his opinion.