On My Heart (A Series)… My Cane.


I lost my cane Saturday. I was using it when I went to plant crocus and tulip bulbs up near the driveway. After I got the bulbs planted, I walked along the road and picked up a few articles of trash, a Monster drink can and a McDonald’s cup. Energy drinkers and McDonald’s patrons are among the worst offenders for throwing trash out their car windows and onto our property. I don’t really get what goes through a person’s mind to think that is OK. How do they rationalize tossing their trash on my property so I have to pick it up, versus leaving it in their cupholder until they get home and just tossing it into their own trash? I just do not get it.

I put the trash in the can that was still by the road (Charles would need to come get it, as it exceeds my current allowable weight limit). There was a package by the gate so I picked it up and walked back toward the house. I put the package in the garage.

I dead headed some cow pen daisies, went to visit the chickens, and cooked lunch. Charles and I discussed whether we needed to hire some help to empty out the workshop in anticipation of the insulation installers coming Monday. I planted some peony roots in the peony and rose garden to the south of my walking path and thought about what color roses I want to add to what is already there.

Eventually, I looked around for my cane and couldn’t find it. I moved my feet around the leaves that the mulberry tree dumped on the path and driveway, to see if it may have fallen among them. It had not. I looked all over. I retraced my steps back up to the road. Then back around the house. I mentioned it to Charles. He said he did not remember me having it when I came back from the frontage. I vaguely remembered perching it against the trash can before dropping in what I had picked up. But, it wasn’t there. It isn’t anywhere where I had been that day.

A few months ago, I perched an old mirror against the trash can and it was gone in about an hour. I suspect the same is true with my cane. We live in an area where people will take things left by the street. The roadside is like the free box at a garage sale. If you put it there, someone will take it. We have yet to leave something at the road that was still there for trash pick up day. Oftentimes, it is our neighbor from several driveways down. He comes by on his bicycle and picks up scrap pieces of wood or metal from Charles’ building projects, old furniture, or whatever is there. I laughed one time when he picked up a single metal pipe and took it home looking like one of those old circus performers riding a bicycle balanced on a high wire. I don’t know whether he sells these things or is just a collector of other people’s throwaways. I don’t have his phone number. I’m not sure in which house on his family compound he lives. If he took it, I won’t be getting it back.

The cane has been in my family for… I don’t know how long. It was among my mother’s things after she died in 2018. I found it when my siblings and I started to go through it all. Back then, with our loss so new and raw, I wasn’t able to say “no” to much. If my mother had touched it or even looked at it, then someone was taking it home. I took the cane. I don’t remember her using it. By the time she needed walking assistance, aluminum items from hospice showed up. It is also not something she would have picked out. It is wooden with a brass horse head. Did it belong to one of my grandfathers? I don’t know.

The cane has stood in the a corner of my house for 5 years. Like with the strange faux coffee grinder wall decoration from Mom’s kitchen, sometimes I wondered why I thought I needed it. Then, one day I did need it. I liked that I was using it, instead of something from Walgreens.

Someone told me there were some on eBay like it. I looked and there were. Asking price is under $30. I learned it is vintage and it had a concealed flask under the head. Now I KNOW it wasn’t my mother’s.

But now it is gone.

What struck me later was that it was several hours before I realized I didn’t have it. I had laid it down, and for the rest of the day didn’t miss it. A couple of times I thought, “Where is my cane?” but not “I NEED my cane.” As one of my friends pointed out, “maybe that means you don’t need it as much now.” She’s right; I don’t.

I didn’t have it all day yesterday and did just fine dead heading, making mental plans for spring planting, and just enjoying being outside. Charles offered up his old Boy Scout walking stick, which is leaning against the garage wall near the shoes in case I need it.

Today, I ventured out alone, to the grocery store, card store, and post office. I got a cherry limeade. I was gone by myself for about three hours. It felt oddly liberating. But when I got home, I sat down on the chair and woke up two hours later from a nap I didn’t plan to take. I guess the trip took more out of me than I thought it did.

Baby steps, but now without my cane.

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