Duncan and I took my father on a little walk around Deer Island yesterday. Dad still struggles from the stroke he had last year, but days like yesterday I admire his fighting spirit.
I’ve been reluctant to take him on long walks, mainly because I don’t want him taking a nasty spill on my watch. But it was a beautiful spring day and he was eager, so who was I to argue?
Deer Island is an interesting place. One of the nastiest prisons in Massachusetts history used to be there. Now it’s the site of a massive water treatment plant — the facility credited with making Boston Harbor far cleaner than it was in past decades, when raw sewage used to get pumped into the harbor.
Dad moved slowly, but he was steady. He was telling us about the new tennis balls he just put on his walker. By the end of the walk, those tennis balls were toast, dragged to tatters.
Duncan enjoyed walking on the rocks, and spent the time talking about coordinates — something he is currently learning about.
We had to take frequent rests, as Dad can only take so much at once. But he was determined to go at least a mile.
Dad struggled toward the end, stopping every few feet. When it was over, he collapsed into the passenger seat of my car. But by then, he had gone more than a mile.
Not bad for a guy who needed a wheelchair to get around just a few short months ago.
Sometimes, it’s the smallest victories that count the most.