The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

September 23, 2012

An encouraging story, a happy ending

WASHINGTON — As summer begins to slide away, and fall famously threatens to take the stage, I thought this would be the perfect time to share a story a relative told about an elderly man in his neighborhood who bravely stood against a potentially dangerous situation.

It seems the gentleman known to my relative had been widowed for some time, and often felt as though his life was simply falling by the wayside.

He often experienced little encouragement to face another day after being left alone, although he did enjoy the occasional day spent at a local gymnasium.

There was simply something beneficial about lifting some weights, working on a stationary bike and trying to recoup a few lost years while celebrating an ability to show some strength and agility.

Yet, there were still times when his loneliness nearly overcame his physical fortitude to the point where he became melancholy at the though of going on.

But, then one day, in a most unexpected way at a most unexpected time in a most unexpected fashion, his time in the gymnasium proved to be worth his time and effort.

The gentleman lived in an urban setting — not unlike many seen on television during shows involving the hustle and bustle of a large city, making a person feel as though the number who still cared were fewer than any personal feeling of worth could muster.

He would often make his way to a small grocery store located just a few blocks from the humble apartment that once was filled with joy just to have an evening of activity.

It proved to be a fateful evening when the man decided to walk those few blocks to that grocery store where a gallon of milk would be waiting just for him to have, to hold, and to enjoy long into another lengthy night.

And so he made the trip to that store, and there found that gallon of milk that promised so much and yet seemed to cost so little considering.

As he left the store and started on his way home, he thought he noticed a young man wearing jeans and an older shirt with an unkept collar following him from behind. This pattern continued into the next block before the young man suddenly lurched at the gentleman with nothing but ill intentions.

The gentleman dodged, ducked, and made his best attempt to allow the young man to miss in his attempt. However, the young man, or mugger we might say, was able to latch onto an arm.

Fortunately, it was the arm not holding the bag, containing the milk.

As the men started to jostle, the gentleman swung his free arm, hitting the young man, or mugger, on the side of his head with the bag, containing the milk.

The young man fell to the sidewalk as the gentleman lunged forward, his foot now pressing against the young man’s chest so as to impede any possible action from the man who realized a mistake had been made.

Tired, breathing somewhat hard, but feeling suddenly more accomplished at his feat, the gentleman looked down with disdain at his attacker.

With a pound of pity the gentleman looked at the young man and said, “You have failed. All I can say to you is that I’ve got you under my skim.”

The arrest was fast and easy.

•••

Gregg Sims is a sports editor who willingly shares such stories with his fellow workers whenever they allow. Those times are becoming less and less frequent. Fortunately for you, the reader, this means these tales may be shared with you on a more frequent basis.

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