The Kindness of a New Grandpa

Waking up, rolling over, falling asleep, waking up again. We took our time getting moving on Thursday morning in Paducah. The only absolute must on our agenda was to somehow make our way to a Walmart nearly five miles away to go grocery shopping.

Nearing about eleven o’clock, we finally emerged from our boat, and said our good mornings to all around. We passed a couple of hours stretching on the dock, having conversations with everyone who walked by, and some tidying up, before grabbing our backpacks and heading into town.

We knew a few things at that point, that a fellow boater had a rental car and offered to drive us to Walmart at around three o’clock. It being only around noon at that point, we weren’t sure that we wanted to wait. We knew that ordering a Lyft would be nearly seventeen dollars for a one way trip, meaning we would spent over thirty dollars just to get to and from the grocery store. And we also knew that it would be five miles of walking before we got there.

And so we walked. RJ stuck his thumb out every once in a while, on the off chance that somebody would stop. I didn’t think that was a super viable option.

After walking only about half a mile, we crossed the street towards a house where three locals were out on their porch.

Ranging in age from their 60’s to their 90’s, I was sure I misheard when the man yelled, “Hey there, I’m on YouTube!”

“What was that?” I replied.

“I’m on YouTube, I’m a dancer.”

“That’s awesome.”

“Yeah, I have to get a knee surgery soon, but my dream is to be a dancer. I’m gonna have this knee surgery and then eye surgery for my cataracts and then I’m going to be a dancer.”

“That’s amazing, good for you!”

“Yeah, as soon as I’m healed I’m heading to Vegas. I have the number of some people to contact and I’m going to live my dream as a dancer.”

“Wow, cool.” He seemed harmless, but I knew we needed to get walking again if we were ever going to get to Walmart and back to the boat.

“Yeah, on Fridays I dance over there across the city.”

“Well, we’re not from here and we’ll be gone by then, but I’m sure you’ll be great. We’re just trying to get to Walmart to buy groceries.”

“What are you doing going this way? Walmart is that way!” He pointed in the opposite direction of where we were walking. Looking down at the map I had pulled up on my phone, I didn’t know what to say. “There is a bus over there just two blocks over. It’s only about a dollar, that’s how I get there. Though sometimes I lie and they take me to McDonald’s so I can get my buy one get one ya know.”

“Wow, where is the bus station?”

“Just over there they have a bus line that goes right to Walmart.”

“That’s awesome thank you so much for the info.”

A few more thank you’s were exchanged and as we were walking away, he finished our conversation with a simple statement: “Hey you know I’m a grandpa again.”

After walking to the bus station and getting there in perfect enough time, five minutes before the bus was to depart, we took our seats. After the bus rounded a few blocks, we drove past the man sitting on his porch and waved to him from the window.

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