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Girl With a Walking Stick..!

Saturday, November 03, 2018
By Robert Clements

She walked on the pavement opposite mine, and I stood transfixed!

She went at a gait that left everybody else behind, and in this city where time is a major factor, she was indeed gaining much of it, as with steady steps, she outpaced the rest. But what was helping her along was a walking stick. She walked with a purpose, helped deftly by the well-meaning stick.

I’m not sure she needed it, like there was no sign of a limp, though she could have been through an injury in which it had been recommended, in case she wanted support, but with a definite goal and dogged resolve, her stride, giving her single-minded focus, she moved on, leaving others far, far behind.

I thought of many for whom walking sticks are advocated, “use the stick mom, so you won’t fall again!” But with stubbornness that is mistaken for determination, and actually sheer foolhardiness, they refuse the stick, totter forward with false pride, and watch as people look at them and say, “What tenacity!”

What foolishness!

But its not just about the old and infirm I speak about, its many of us, who refuse support even when we need one. “Form a team and let them help you!” says your boss.

“No, I like working alone!” we say, and leave the walking stick offered, aside, and totter through a project, crawl, fall, get bruised and reach the finishing line, if at all, broken and nearly beaten.

A few years ago, as president of the Rotary I’d initiated a ‘walking stick’ project for my inauguration, and instead of having my installation in a five- star hotel, as normally done, had it in an ordinary shed, and used the money saved towards buying walking sticks for the poor old in the area. Many who, I’d heard, sat on their haunches through the day, because they had no prop to walk with. We gave away over fifty walking sticks, and I was sure the next day would see many of them in the park, joyously using their new-found freedom.

Only a few turned up.

I haven’t visited their homes, but I know where those sticks are lying; gleaming, unused under other discarded stuff, hidden away from public gaze, “We cannot allow people to see the stick, can we?”

And then I look again at the far away speck of the girl, striding, moving forward, breaking the speed barrier, and I laugh aloud in the autumn cold, “What fools we are not to use props given to us!”

Props, like help from our children, or even a divine prop called Prayer..!”

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