Now rehabbing my third knee replacement on the same leg, it can be said that I’m reaching for answers so that my gait will not remind those who see me walk down the street or into a store, of Walter Brennan, the actor who was famous from the Real McCoys TV show in the early 1960’s.
I searched and met with different doctors to help get me back to a lifestyle that included golf with my friends and business associates, walks with my wife along the beach, either here at Gilgo or during the winter on Hutchinson Island and during the Fall, Suffolk High School football fields where I patrol the middle of the field as part of a five man crew, as the umpire.
My current Physical Therapist suggested that as part of my rehab I walk on a soft surface i.e., a turf field vs. a blacktop street. The perfect choice was the local high school which last year replaced all the natural grass with a brightly colored turf field, to delineate the fields on which all the different types of games are played.
My first walk was a few days ago. I switched my smartphone to my favorite music app, rather than my transistor radio, plugged in my earphones, set the timer on my phone and set out to walk the perimeter. During that 10 minute walk a new world order seemed to present itself right in my face.
On a beautiful Spring day the baseball field was empty. There was no crack of the bat or an umpire hollering out Strike Three. Instead there was a small group of boys and girls kicking around a soccer ball into one of several nets.
As my walk continued I passed by a lacrosse net that had a few dads showing a few young boys and girls how to cradle the ball in a lacrosse stick and then how to pass the ball to a teammate.
And as my walk come to near a close I ventured near the running track which was hosting a girls track meet. There were girls in short silk shorts throwing the discus, running over hurdles and even pole vaulting.
And when the buzzer on my smartphone went off to indicate my walk was done, it was as if I was transferred back to a time where the fields were made of grass, where dads would be having a catch or throwing batting practice with a group of boys and the track meet would be all boys, running a bit faster and jumping a little higher.
But no. My smartphone’s buzzer reminded me that I was in a brave new world with a softer underbelly where women had equal rights and that some traditions are fading away.
I just hope that my knee responds to my walks so that others who were walking in my footsteps don’t comment that my gait reminds them of an old actor from some TV show along time ago.