To the editor:
We see each other, speak or wave hello most weekdays, and we don’t even know each other’s names.
When I moved to Riverdale, I noticed I missed seeing friends and acquaintances as I walked to work from my Manhattan apartment. That first Monday, as I walked to the West 231st Street subway station, I smiled and nodded at the crossing guard.
It was a freezing cold February morning.
She was bundled up against the wind, and she warmly greeted me as she guided the children across the street toward their elementary school. I wondered if her white gloves kept her hands warm enough.
During these past five years, we have had many brief conversations as I waited for the light to change. I know her mother recently turned 90, lives in Florida, and speaks to her often. While I have lots of gray hair, she doesn’t, but I am guessing she is just a bit younger than I am.
For many years, she worked in a nursing home. Now she can walk to work and go home in between her long hours standing on the corner.
Most of the time, we chat briefly about the weather or our personal health issues. But these days, we talk about staying safe by washing our hands and not touching our face. On a recent Friday, I held up my hands and joked, “As the weather gets warm, I doubt I will want to wear my red wool gloves.”
I eyed her white gloves, and said, “I should get a pair like yours for the spring.”
“I have an extra pair at home. I’ll bring it for you Monday.”
“Thanks, but you don’t have to do that,” I said.
“I am going to. Don’t worry. I have a few extra pairs at home.”
The light changed, and she walked me across the street.
“Now stay safe,” she said. Just like she told me the first day I smiled at her.