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This week, I am out of town with no access to my stable of wonderful writing resources for Wedwand. What to do?

A local reader suggested that a story I’ve told on occasion should be included at some point in this collection.  This is the time.  This is the story.

I used to live on the Northwest side of Chicago in an apartment on a street named Keystone.   It was a block away from an outstanding Chinese Restaurant, a block away from where once an old fashioned ice cream parlor stood, and a block away from the expressway.   The apartment is still there, but only the expressway remains.

This was a time before sidewalk curbs were made handicapped accessible.  Great big curbs were at the corners of the streets, even at the corner on the end of the block across the street from a nursing home.

This was also a time when I was younger and used to jog about the neighborhood to keep in shape.

One Saturday, I was doing just that, taking a morning run south bound on Keystone.  As I crossed Berteau Street, I noticed a lady a block in front of me.  A classic “little old lady” with a cane was also walking south on Keystone.   She was slowly crossing the street.   She too was enjoying movement on a sunny spring day, albeit slower.

The curb she was approaching was at least six inches high.   I stepped up my pace.

Surely she was going to walk to the left, around that curb.   But, she headed straight for it instead.  I ran faster, about a half block away at this point.

As she reached the curb, she planted her cane and attempted to step up the six inch curb.   Full sprint now for me.

There was no way she could make it over this hurdle and she started to lean towards the left.   My burners were on full throttle now as I raced towards Cullom Avenue.

As I hit the opposite curb, she was at a 45 degree angle going down.   I raced forward, caught her in my arms mid-fall and lifted her over the curb.

Somewhat amazed, she looked up at me and said, “You are so strong.”

I replied, “Be more careful maam”, continued to jog down the street and went along my way.

I am fairly certain my strength came from a different source that day and there was likely a good story shared at the nursing home dinner table that night.

So this story is not about me.  It’s not even about the little old lady.

It’s about reaching out and running faster when you see an opportunity to help someone in need.   It’s about not being afraid to accept a helping hand when you need it.   It’s about being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing.   It’s about a lot of things.

Maybe Bill Withers sang it best, “We all need somebody to lean on.”   I defer to the “Glee” version.  Have a listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnjfFNJkiwY

 

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