Last week, Hank received a card in the mail. It read:
Hi Hank! How are you? I haven’t seen you for awhile, so I hope you are ok and still getting a lot of exercise. I hope your allergies are not too bad this year.
I am walking but not as much or as often as before. My yoga class at the Y cuts into walking time. Maybe I’ll run into you sometime. Say “hello” to Tonya for me. – Donna
Donna is a lady I met a few years ago when I walked Hank at a park down the street. An avid walker for several hours a day, she would also pick up litter along the bike path. Donna’s beautification efforts were recognized by our local paper and was she appropriately named “The Trail Angel” in the article. You can read it here: (https://qctimes.com/news/local/noonnotes/notes-noon-trail-angel-watches-over-duck-creek-parkway/article_feff1e4e-de20-5c3f-8012-87e23183571f.html) Ask her about it and she will downplay her positive impact with a scoffing wave of her hand and a “Nah!”
Every week or so at the park, Donna and I would catch up on life. She’d regale me with the latest cruise adventures with her husband Marty or how they danced the night away at the senior center. Ask her about anything and she always had an opinion. Yet with all her stories and no-nonsense views, Donna would without fail ask about my family or what I was up to all while genuinely listening to what I had to say, which unfortunately seems to be a rare quality in people. I consider her my friend and her note to Hank only confirmed what I already knew: Donna is a good egg.
Hank replied back:
Thank you for you card! I’ve never received mail before. Everyone loved it!
I am still getting a lot of exercise just not in the places I used to go like the park and the bike path. Someone in the neighborhood didn’t like that I wasn’t on a leash even though I am a very good dog. An officer came to my house and wrote Tonya a warning for having a dog at large! Can you believe that? Someone went to a lot of trouble to find out where I live. We all agree, that neighbor needs to get a life!
Anyway, thanks to the lovely folks at ******* who gave us permission, I am now patrolling the creek behind ******* on the hunt for ducks to flush. As a matter of fact, a few days ago I chased a duck from the creek all the way across a street and into the neighborhood. I was told a bunch of times I was lucky I didn’t get hit by a car. Maybe I should listen better.
Thanks for asking about my allergies! I’m still taking the world’s most expensive dog pill ever on a daily basis. It helps but the gnats are terrible this year! They are very distracting when I’m fetching the ball. I get sprayed with some stuff that makes me smell like a lemon cupcake which isn’t too terrible.
I miss seeing you! Tonya says all the time that now that we’ve been banished from the park and bike path she doesn’t get to see her park friends anymore. She looks every day on the off chance someone will be walking on the small stretch behind the softball field. So far no luck.
I hope you’re not missing your walks too much and you have fully recovered from your surgery. I’ve been told yoga is very good for you. Tonya, Brian and Hazel do yoga in the basement sometimes. They always send me upstairs because I think yoga time is play time. I guess not.
Tonya says hi and she misses talking with you and catching up. She wants me to ask you if you are planning any cruises this summer and if you are still dancing with your suave partner Marty?
Thanks again for the card! I loved hearing from you and I hope to see you soon! Say hi to Marty for me! – Love, Hank.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t secretly hoped Donna would pop over to my banishment.*
Surprise! A couple of days later there she was. I was thrilled to see my park friend, however Hank pretended like he didn’t know her which was kind of rude and embarrassing especially after they had exchanged letters. Anyway, Donna and I caught up on life. She again regaled me with an especially madcap cruise adventure and I filled her in on my daughter’s latest events and celebrations. It was so good to see her.
As we wrapped up our conversation I said, “Thank you for coming over here to see me. I really appreciate it. Donna, you are a good egg,” and this was my favorite part of our visit and exactly how I’d expect her to answer: she said, “I know.”
Before she left, Hank said hello to Donna and all was right again between them. I sure hope those two stay pen pals. I wouldn’t want them to lose touch.
*Was it really that much of a secret?