I Am Gregg.

I am Gregg. At least that’s what Erma says. And what Erma says is good enough for me. So for now I am Gregg. She points to a hill and tells me about a large tree she once buried her shelter rescued dog beneath. The tree is still there; at least that’s what she tells me. Erma tells me about her new dog, a mixed mutt she picked up at the shelter not to long ago. The new dog snoops the ground and bushes ahead of us.

At some point in the conversation Erma asks my name again. I tell her mine and ask hers again. I'm horrible with names. I often make apologies for my habit of forgetting someone’s name. But I don’t really feel all that apologetic even when I'm apologizing. A name is a nice thing to remember but it’s not everything. In conversation I'm striving to treat you as if I am genuinely interested in everything you are saying to me. And in this enraptured state of conversational bliss I will probably forget your name.

So what if Erma forgot my name. I forgot hers as well.

I think Erma is like me: a bit lonely and looking for someone to acknowledge that she does indeed exist. She is in her 70’s and walks somewhat hunched over. I am 28 and walk slowly beside her, not knowing anymore about her than she is willing to divulge to a complete stranger.

I am the stranger, but so is she. But after five minutes I know that she’s lived up on that hill for over forty years, that she is originally from Germany and that shelter dogs are the best kinds of dogs.

And then the trail splits off, one way leading up the hill, the other to the train tracks that run along the shore. Erma tells me, with much sincerity in her voice, that it was nice meeting me; perhaps we’ll meet again. She heads up the hill and I head toward the water.

She calls after me, “take care, Gregg”. Thanks, I say, you take care too, Erma.


Blogger Big Poppa said...

I'm pretty good with names. Sometimes though, I forget people's name and am then embarassed to ask it again. It is selfish not to ask again. It shows that I value my pride more than who they are. Because when someone forgets my name, I take no offense. Hey, I do it too. But they care enough to ask. I appreciate when others ask. But sometimes I know quite a bit about someone, but not their name. That's okay, I can recognize their face and remember a little about their life. If I pray, I can imagine their face because God know their name. It takes the pressure off. Good word. Peace.

9:16 PM  

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