I drive 25 miles each way to work every day. My drive takes me along county roads where I see beautiful scenery, at least one eagle every morning, and a variety of people out walking.
There are 4 different people that I encounter regularly on my drive to work. There's Orange Hat Guy, Smiling Waving Woman, Really Happy Guy, and then there is Old Guy with Dog.
Orange Hat Guy is clearly out for some serious exercise because no matter what time of year, he's wearing his orange toque (stocking cap) and a heavy sweatshirt, and he swings his arms quite forcefully while he walks. Smiling Waving Woman really shouldn't need more explanation that that. She enjoys her morning walks, and waves to the cars that pass her by. Really Happy Guy waves so enthusiastically at me that I feel like I should know him, and then I feel bad because I don't recognize him. But I wave anyway.
Then there's Old Guy with Dog. I feel bad using the term "Old Guy" to describe him, because I honestly don't know how old he is. I estimate him to be in his 70's. He has an aging Rottweiler that he walks every morning. When I first moved across the county, the Rottweiler was far thinner and more spry on their walks. Now both dog and owner have slowed down a little.
In my mind I've created a whole backstory for this man. He's a lonely widower who lives alone with his dog. He's grown to be a somewhat crochety guy, but with a good heart. He's a lovable curmudgeon. His dog looks tougher than he really is, and the two of them go for their walks every morning while he enjoys the beauty of his surroundings, and maybe even talks to his dearly departed wife a little while he and (I've decided on a name for his dog) Rocky stroll along. He carries a piece of garden hose about 3' long, and it appears to have had something done to it to stiffen it, so it could be almost like a walking stick.
For years I've tried to get up the courage to smile and wave at Old Mr. Walker (as we'll call him) and Rocky as they get their daily exercise, but he doesn't seem to encourage this interaction.
Right around Thanksgiving, I noticed that Mr. Walker and Rocky had a companion walking along with them one morning. From a distance I noted another man walking alongside and thought, "How nice, his son came to visit him for Thanksgiving."
The next morning, however, as I approached they were walking towards me and I could see the face of the second man. I realized that he was in fact a younger man, at least 20 years younger than Mr. Walker. But he was of a completely different ethnic background than Mr. Walker, and even though I realize that he could be an adopted son, I just don't think he was. My mind immediately began re-writing Mr. Walker's story...
So then for the next few days as I would see them out walking, I'd try to come up with alternate scenarios... a sort of Tuesdays with Morrie thing because I didn't like the direction that my mind was taking Mr. Walker's story.
Then, as suddenly as he appeared, Mr. Walker's companion was gone again, and it was once again just a man and his dog out walking every morning.