Good day, dear reader. I am Sir Oakley Supportton, a member of the Walking Stick Foundation, charged with the prestigious duty of providing a sturdy shoulder for older people to securely lean on in a dignified manner. I was purposefully left at the gate of a wooded walking trail to await and accordingly care for such a patron as required my services.
Were my services utilized by this exact type of patron on a particularly sunny Saturday afternoon? They were not.
It was a group of three able bodied women in their mid-twenties who chose to walk that trail that day. And it was the oldest of the group, a twenty-eight year old blonde woman, who first espied me, then promptly marched over, plucked me from my station leaning against the gate, and cried out, “Aha, a wizard’s staff!” Then, with the attention of her compatriots upon her, she pretended to lean on me, and quoted with the silly impersonation of a low male voice, “You would not part an old man from his walking stick.”
You would think that a twenty-eight year old woman would have more decorum and gravitas.
Thankfully, her friends, both a couple years younger and yet wiser, were of the same mindset as me, and scoffed at her, their laughter reverberating around the park entrance.
Then the brunette grabbed one of my colleagues, and declared, “We shall make this a proper adventure!”
The red-head, who had sensibly begun to trek down the path, turned around and sighed, “I can’t bring you two anywhere, can I?”
Amidst some most unseemly grinning, I was dubbed “The One Toed Walking Stick” and my colleague “Shorty.” I was most dreadfully aghast to have the flap of wood sticking out of my base come to define my whole being.
The trek through the forest was anything but dignified. My patron embarrassingly flung me about, referencing me as a magical staff that shot spells at her companions. Next, I was a fighting quarterstaff used by Robin Hood to duel Little John, in which such scenario she compelled the brunette and “Shorty” to become Little John and his quarterstaff while standing on a small branch fallen across the path. Then I was Robin Hood’s bow, with the red-head being the legendary bulls-eye target board.
The only break from this absurdity came when the three women were engaged in self-portraiture.
Our walking party passed by an older woman walking with her grandson going the other direction. She strode by us elegantly, her gait straight and her demeanour demure. If only this lady had selected me, we would have made a properly dignified pair. But alas, such a partnering was not to be at this point in time.
As we were nearing the end of the trail, the red-head remarked, “You know, I think Nicole is too emotionally attached to that stick to leave it behind.”
The blonde laughed, and replied, “No, I will leave it at the gate. There’ll be an eight year old girl who’ll see it and unleash her imagination with it, and I cannot deprive her of that experience.”
“An eight year old girl, and not a twenty-eight year old woman, eh? So you admit to not acting your age then?” the red-head quipped.
The blonde laughed again good-naturedly, then leaned me back against the gate where she had found me. The brunette reunited “Shorty” with the other service sticks as well. The group walked away, already engaged in some other inside joke.
I must admit, dear reader, that that afternoon was one of the most fun ones that I have had in quite some time.