Helen tried to conceal her strain at keeping pace as we walked down the river path. To slow to a more manageable pace, I concentrated on the rhythmic crunch of our footsteps on the path's layer of wood chips.
"I broke my arm playing with my father - twice - in the same place," she said, using her finger to gesture where, and at what angle the breaks had occurred, "we were really poor, and the farm was too far from the hospital. The first time my father braced my arm himself.'
"That must have really hurt," unable to come up with anything less obvious, or more comforting to say.
"It did," she said, "but that was over fifty years ago. You didn't complain about that kinda thing back then. Times were hard, and daddy had a lot on his mind with the farm."
Looking ahead, I could see our larger group ahead on the footpath.
"I really want you and your wife to come over for dinner as soon as the kitchen has been painted," she said, "Do you like baked chicken? I would like you to come see my...", she paused in mid-sentence when she noticed the group approaching us. She resumed an earlier conversation we were having with the larger group, "...yes, I hope they keep this side of the river up, now that they have fixed it," pointing with a tired finger at the recently mowed lawn.