Brand New Roller Skates

February weather in Alabama is about as unpredictable as it gets.  Granted, I’m biased since I live in Alabama, it’s February, and I like to be outside.  

Today was a beautiful day, clear with temperatures in the upper 50s, and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer.  Two days ago?  Cloudy and damp with a daytime high in the mid 30s.  This weekend’s forecast?  A daytime high of 27 and an overnight low of 10 degrees!  This is Alabama…we’re in the deep south, for goodness’ sake!

Today, though, was nice, and I can be happy with that.

My wife, Lisa, and I took a look at the forecast this morning and decided we would take a walk this afternoon on a local greenway.  We’ve had a lot of rain recently, so a hike would be an invitation for muddy boots and we just weren’t feeling that.  The Wade Mountain Greenway is a mile(ish) of asphalt that allows folks to walk through the woods on an out-and-back path without, well, walking through the woods.  

The Greenway attracts a lot of people, which is nice.  An afternoon like today had us sharing the path with plenty of families as well as the occasional runner and bicyclist.

And a girl on rollerskates.

We saw her in the distance, looking to be about 10 years old, clearly on skates and carrying herself as one who didn’t have a lot of experience.  Probably not a lot different than I would look.  She had her feet just a bit more than shoulder width apart and her arms were straight with both hands seemingly reaching for the ground.  Concentration.  Loads of concentration.

As we approached, with our efforts more than hers responsible for the gap between us closing, she looked up at us and smiled as we complimented her on her efforts.  Oh, what a smile! Then her eyes were back on the ground, the concentration returned, and she shuffle-skated away behind us.

Her parents came next, walking the slow walk of patience, enjoying their daughter’s efforts.  With beaming smiles returning our own, they conveyed both pride and the tiniest bit of embarrassment at our needing to give their kiddo a bit of extra room on the wide path. We exchanged hellos, complimented the effort we just witnessed, and they were soon behind us as well.

I’m sure the next time we see that family her parents will be reminding her to stay in sight of them, but for today…well, guess who we caught up with on our trip back to the car.  

8 thoughts on “Brand New Roller Skates”

  1. This is one of those moments to savor because it takes us back in time and pushes forward in time. Not simply roller skating, but building perseverance. I used to love to skate as a kid. The scars on my knees still remind me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our oldest son, who attends grad school at Iowa State, has tried to stay active this year by doing things outside. He also took an ice skating course that he enjoyed very much and allowed some contact with other students. But, that was at an indoor rink. This past fall, we went to visit him and we went on a long hike. On the way to the trail, he explained that he had rollerbladed the entire trail the previous weekend (about ten miles). We encountered some other rollerbladers who were very confident in this skill. We made way for them, too! Thanks for sharing your roller skating story, Tim!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to read this because this past week – in the cold of PA, I have seen this woman roller skating on the bike path near my house… I see her when I’m driving by, and she is obviously having the time of her life! She is dancing as she skates, spinning around, it’s so awesome!

    I love the way you encouraged this young skater, and the way you told the story!

    Liked by 1 person

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