In the morning or sometimes in the afternoon too, I walk around the village. It’s not a walk of exercise, but a walk of keeping in touch. I walk down my street past the guys who wash cars in the street in front of the convenience store/internet café that they operate. I walk through the Catholic Church parking lot and then between the Church and Infant School. I say hello to the fisherman slicing up fresh fish by the sea before turning onto a small street where I stop to talk with Mrs. Nicolas. She’s always on her porch. She is 92 years old and was born on March 17, 1917.
The first time I saw her she said, “Come here, I want to touch you.” It’s common. There is a curiosity about my skin. Once a little boy touched me and said that my skin was soft. We touched each others arms for several minutes while I protested that it was no softer than his.
Mrs. Nicholas husband died sixteen years ago. She was married for more years than she knows. Although she was born in this village, she and her husband moved to
She complains that things are not the same as they were when she grew up. There are “nasty things” on television. People used to take care of each other. Now people are too busy to be bothered. Mrs. Nichols worked in a hospital and later as a caretaker for an elderly lady. When her mother got sick she had to quit. Soon after she left the lady died. Now Mrs. Nichols is old. She cannot maneuver the two steps from her front porch and must depend on her children to bring her food and things she needs.
I have frozen chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer. I freeze it so I can make a few cookies at a time. Mrs. Nichols likes chocolate chip cookies. She also likes dried milk. So each morning before I take my walk I make six small cookies, package them in a clear plastic bag and when I stop to say hello I hand her the bag. She puts the bag to her cheek and declares, “Oh, they are still warm! This will be for my lunch.” As I leave to finish my walk she yells, “Don’t forget me”. Oh, don’t worry Mrs. Nichols, I won’t.