As I waited to speak to Alison the receptionist, a simple wooden walking stick caught my eye as it stood in the corner of the hotel reception room propped against the white wall behind the desk. How long it had been there was anyone’s guess as I could see a thin coat of powdery grey dust sitting undisturbed along the top of its handle.
‘There must be many walking sticks standing or lying idly all over the place,’ I thought. Antique ones, decorative ones, of all styles and descriptions. They’re mostly seen as antiques now or just for the elderly, but once upon a time, all noblemen would have had one. It was a sign of status and position, a far cry from today.
However, this walking stick was simply carved and I could see it was a beautiful walnut colour. It had a hooked top and it looked more like a cut down version of a shepherd’s staff. At the bottom however, was what can only be described as an ugly rubber cover, which was worn from regular use and some what I’ll fitting. It spoilt its look and design, but a necessary adage I suppose for its elderly owner at the time.
How old was it? Who knew? To me, I think no more than fifty years but I fear my judgement is driven more by the modern stopper than the rest of the stick. So what do I know, it may well be a lot older.
I remember my grandmother had one just like it. She used it during the times she was at her most frail, otherwise she would walked unaided. I remember her first using it after she had her stroke. It had been a sweltering summers day in London and the night was oppressively hot. There was no air. Even with the windows opened, nothing happened. The heat and the humidity felt like and insufferable coat, that you could not remove. She was 75 at the time. Following the stroke (and there were many elderly victims that summer) her recovery was quite impressive, considering her speech had been lost and she was affected down her whole right side. Initially she had a walking frame, but as she grew stronger through physiotherapy she progressed to the hospital issued metal sticks. You know, the ones you get if you had broken your leg or injured your foot? The weeks and months went by and she continued to regain her strength and mobility. She then started to use her own wooden stick.
As I looked at the walking stick, it seemed out-of-place in this home, I wondered whose it was? Did it have an owner like my grandmother? Someone who would have loving taken care of it and used it in their life time? Where had it been? What conversations had it stood in the mist of? Had it been forgotten, or even lost?
This walking stick was about function. Nothing ornate or expensive about it. Its reason and purpose now lost. It really made no sense as to why it was where it was? But someone had placed it there rather than throwing it away or placing it in the attic. So maybe, it has some sentimental value. Maybe no longer used, but still a need for it to be seen.
This weeks writing challenge, something I will be participating in regularly in order to develop my writing skills.