Thank you, Jackie,keep on walking
To the Editor,
Five years ago, I was exploring healthy, new activities for myself and came across a small ad in the local newspaper citing “ the benefits of walking, meeting others in the safety of the indoors at HHSS (7 a.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays) contact Jackie Metcalfe at….”
I telephoned and was greeted by an enthusiastic lady who told me how she had been personally walking for health through the Heart and Stroke Foundation for many years.”It just gets you going in the morning and then you have the whole day in front of you. I always feel better afterwards, even on days when I’m aching or tired. Come and join us. You can walk at your own pace, walk alone or chat with others – whatever works for you!”
So I did, off and on. The group ranged from eight to just Jackie and I (outdoors) during the summer. We’d see dark, dreary, frosty morns, does showing off their fawns on the outside track, sun rising over Head Lake, the geese gathering. We chatted about Haliburton history, health, family issues, faith, bridge, life in general, friendship.
While our interests were in different circles, our ages 15-plus years apart, we both appreciated our walking time to reflect and count our blessings. It was great to read the inspirational messages on the school walls, say hi to the caretakers and early riser faculty and athletic program students. There is a whole early morning culture out there.
Some days I pushed myself out of bed in the dark, thought about Jackie, my inspiration, so dedicated, always taking her responsibilities seriously and so committed to community, people getting out and about together, sharing family histories, proud of her heritage. She encouraged people recovering from/preparing for surgery, understood the importance of “keep moving” and being active and engaged.
Eventually we admitted that it was becoming more of a challenge to continue and we tried to hang in, even for shorter walks, but the day came when Jackie phoned me, upset but having given it much thought. “It’s time for a change. I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years, I am 80-plus and not enjoying this as much as I should.”
We both felt sad and shared how we would miss our special time together. Jackie has inspired me and so many others over the years and I want to thank and commend her personally for “walking the walk” and leading by example.
She has truly made a difference in our community and I am honoured and proud to know her.