It was Valentine’s Day morning. Decided to bring Mal for a stroll in the morning since he had been quite restless at home. Mal rode his bike this time. By now, he can cycle pretty well in his little bicycle. There is almost no need for me to use the rope to pull him along or to help him steer except while we were crossing the streets. It was 9 plus in the morning and I was actually hoping to catch the old man that sweeps the pavement. I was right, he was there, on his returning way sweeping the pavement and Mal was shouting Hi to him from across the street, but as usual, he was too engrossed sweeping.
We crossed the street to get to the pavement where he was sweeping. He wasn’t aware until we were right behind him. It was easy with Mal around to start a conversation. Prior to meeting him, Mal was all excited to cycle fast so that we could catch up with this old man to say Hi. But as we were standing right in front of him, he was so shy and could only whisper a soft Hi. The old man commented on what a pretty boy he is, hmmm, at least he could tell that Mal is a boy! There were so many occasions that people mistook him as a girl! and these people justify by saying ‘oh, he had such a pretty face!’ oh my! wonder whether I should take that as a compliment.
The old man was eager to show me a plaque that was awarded to him in November 2006 by the Mayor of the city to show recognition and appreciation for his effort in keeping the neighbourhood clean. If you had seen the picture I took previously, you would have notice a small white paper bag that he hung to his walker. He kept the plaque in that little paper bag. He is 91 year old this year and had been doing this for the last 5 years! He had a bad fall 8 years ago and hurt his back. Thus now needs a walker to help him along as he has problem straightening his back. I must say he still looks pretty healthy and strong for an old man who is close to a century old! Currently he is staying with his retired daughter and his 2 grandsons who were in their 30s. He was aware that it’s Valentine’s day and went on telling me about the time when he first met his wife who unfortunately had passed away.
He commented that he loves to eat sweet stuff and loves candy! I was actually planning to pass him some snacks that I baked but was worried that it might be too sweet for him. My worries seem unfounded and it was strange how his short comment had helped clear my doubt. We seem to have the same thoughts in mind.
He walked and chatted with us all the way. Before we part, we hugged and I even gave him a kiss, not just on his face but on his lips as well!!! My goodness!!! That was totally unplanned and unintentional. I was not used to kissing and hugging strangers. So I kind of fumbled when he gently ask whether I could give him a hug, which was followed by a kiss very naturally. It’s a habitual thing to plant a peck on the lips as that was usually what I did to Mal.
So, there was Malcolm, sitting in his bike, watching Mummy hugging and kissing a 91 year old stranger on Valentine’s Day! and when it was his turn to give a goodbye hug and kiss, he was quick to say…NO!!! I guess next time, when he gets more comfortable with this old man who has been quite an inspiration and motivation to Mummy.