From Austen to Lake Norman


Mr. Bingley takes his morning walk on our road. He shuffles along, in his age, and stops to inspect things of interest. He does not hurry; accepting his limitations, but his spirit is strong and determined. Somewhat bent, somewhat shabby, he is out each morning, taking the walk up and back in the early morning quiet on our road.

I did not know Mr. Bingley when he was young and in his prime. I did not see his scamper and quick movements of energy. It was then that he could have heard me and seen me, but not through the film of aged eyes. Had we walked on our road in those days, he would have led me, having to wait for me to catch up. Had I known Mr. Bingley in the days of his youth, he would have heard the squirrels scattering in the trees at his approach and known the call of the Carolina Chickadees. His bright eyes, seeing the other walkers, would have looked to me to make sure that I had also seen them.

Yet, I only know Mr. Bingley now, in his time of less. He has less of everything, as we all do with the passing of days. Mr. Bingley, like J. Alfred Prufrock, faces that which we all will. However, Mr. Bingley, as I watch him walking each morning, musters all the grace he has and goes along.

Mr. Bingley carries his name and breeding well. Named for the mild mannered man in an Austen novel and bred as a fine Cavalier Spaniel, his aged appearance of poor color, deaf ears, cataracts, and bent spine, do not hinder the spirit of one who walks each day, content with what he has, and an example for all—whether dog or human.

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