The Bottles

Mr. Bottles was not walking that morning with Mrs. Bottles. I felt slight alarm as I made my usual drive around the Savannah on the way out. Why did he not walk today? I wondered. Perhaps his knees were bothering him too much. That dam doctor just won’t listen, man. Or maybe he just did not feel up to it. Last night was a real Netflix bonanza and his bed was too cozy. Whatever the reason, I was worried.

About 10 years ago – and it could easily be more since time seems to run away with me – we noticed this great lady walking around the Savannah every morning. She looked to be in her 50s or 60s maybe. Perhaps older. A real character, out to get fit and let the rest of the world be damned! She wore a leopard skin walking tights, a magnificent broad-brimmed hat (not for her the harmful, aging rays of the sun!) and she carried in each hand a jalitre bottle filled with WASA water. I knew it was WASA water because it was brown. But that’s another story. These she used as hand weights, up and down, as she walked. We named her Mrs. Bottles.

Mrs. Bottles soon became a fixture in our lives. A comforting sight each weekday morning, she let me know that indeed Life was vibrant. People were working, people were getting fit, and I should probably take a leaf out of Mrs. Bottles’ book. (I didn’t right away, but she soon wore me down). She was full of a quiet energy and mindful determination. We enjoyed seeing Mrs. Bottles.

Years went on and we only noticed her absence over some holiday periods. Obviously there must be a Mr. Bottles, we thought, and he’s got his vacation time and so they are off on a Carnival Cruise to Mexico, or visiting their married son or daughter in Canada. The grandbabies getting spoilt, spoilt! Oh, the stories we spun about this lovely lady! Always she would return after a few weeks and we would smile. When the new President’s wife started her morning walks around the Savannah, full security in tow, Mrs. Bottles blew right on past, makeshift hand weights pumping to the soca beat in her head.

One day, about two years ago, we saw him! Mr. Bottles! He had joined his wife on her morning walk! Happily retired, he walked two paces behind her, cringing at the leopard pants and hand weights. He looked as though he wanted to be eating a tasty bake and shark at Richard’s, or putting his friend Malcolm securely in his place on the golf course. But clearly Mrs. Bottles would have none of that first thing in the morning. Put on your fat pants, dear, and come and exercise. Don’t forget your hat. Yes, the one that comes right down over your neck! I don’t want to have to be putting aloes on you tonight.

He certainly looked as though a few turns round the green would not harm him. Golf can wait till this afternoon. We’ll go Maracas on Saturday, not so many crowds then. I’ll even order two aloo pies to go with the bake and shark! But come and walk with me.

And so Mr. and Mrs. Bottles walked. Soon he was keeping pace with the missus. And she ain’t easy, eh! She in turn retired the leopard pants and got a new black pants. The hat got a colourful new ribbon too.

Eventually the hand weight jalitres were no more. I think she thought it best not to tempt fate when Mr. Bottles complained about the whole dam walking thing.

Such a lovely couple this is! Then one day I saw Mr. Bottles with a stick. Oh dear, I thought, perhaps he is feeling a little shaky today. Then they began walking with arms linked. We are not sure who is holding up whom, but they walk just as well, look just as sweet, even if they are a tad slower.

Then I saw her walking alone.

Perhaps his buddies convinced her to let him play golf of an early morning once or twice a week. It is much cooler then, and if rain is going to fall, everyone knows it falls in the afternoon. So maybe that’s it.

I’m going to take a drive tomorrow at 8.30 and see if I spy them. And the next day, and the day after that. I want to know that this dear couple is safe and well, that at least one stable thing in our lives is intact. Hopefully I will see them. Pounding the pavement around the Savannah, hail and hearty, and Covid free.

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