July 11, 2013I've had a column intended for The Roadrunner sitting in my outbox for over two years. A humorous outlook on the dangers of walking or riding a bike along Old Castle Road.
I'd take it out every now and then and look at it, but I could never quite find a way to end it, given that the seriousness of the topic really didn't lend itself well to humor. I knew people would die, and I just couldn't find a way to make that "funny."
I even sent it off to a couple of friends to see if they could help me bring it home, but it just wasn't happening. Today that column was permanently deleted. Two people died this morning not far from my house. By the time this sees print we'll all know their names and stories, but as of right now little information is available. But I know who they are … because I didn't see them today. An elderly couple whom I saw walking along Old Castle Road every Sunday since I moved to Valley Center in 2002.
I was always too chicken to stop and talk to them, but I saw them every week, and always wondered (and worried) about them. It appeared they were picking up trash, which I thought was pretty cool. It seemed to me that they probably did this every Sunday for many years prior to me living here. Maybe before Old Castle even existed ... I don't know. Certainly since before most current Valley Center residents lived here I'd bet. And most certainly before any casinos were built.
I've heard they walked every day. I'm usually only up and around Valley Center that early on Sundays, so that's pretty much the only time I'd see them. He seemed rather protective of her, always being between her and the road. He'd look up as I went by, just to make sure I was no threat to them. But the thing that always struck me was they'd usually be holding hands. I'd always see that and think: "I hope that that's me and my wife when we get that old." I found that very encouraging, and it's what I'll remember most about them. I wondered so much about them. Where were they from? How long did they live in Valley Center. Do they have family here? How did they meet? How long were they married? I'd assume a very long time, so what was their "secret"? The walks? What was so significant about them? Were they simply for exercise? Was it just because they wanted to help keep the road trash-free? Why did they continue doing it long after they became aware it was no longer the safest road to walk on?
I'm sure today's Old Castle Road little resembles the Old Castle Road they originally starting walking on so many years ago. And they knew that. Yet that didn't stop them. Why? I imagine most of these questions will get answered. I just know that I'd see them and think about them every Sunday morning, and now I won't see them on Sunday mornings ever again. But I'll still think about them every Sunday for the rest of my life, and I will seriously miss two people whom I've never met.