Bob and I were coming home one Saturday afternoon after a rare excursion beyond Wellesley lines. We had been feeling a little giddy from the danger and excitement of experiencing life in the outside world, but once we crossed back from the wild side we felt our breathing return to normal and our shoulders relax.
You know what I’m talking about and thus can imagine our surprise when the smooth sailing to which we felt entitled suddenly turned a little squally at the Great Plain Ave. part of the big rotary. In a busy area that isn’t know for its pedestrian activity, we saw several people in the middle of the road, bringing traffic to a standstill.
“What in tarnation?” and, “For the love of God,” sputtered Mr. Swellesley. Because those are the types of things he says when things are the slightest bit out of the ordinary.
There, on that busy stretch of road, an elderly woman was being gently led across the street by a gentleman. I know he was a gentleman because he behaved as though it was perfectly ordinary to be leading a great lady across a busy street — a great lady who was holding her pants in one hand and was therefore walking along in her underwear and comfy slippers.
He was escorting her across the street to another gentleman. I know that he was a gentleman because he looked happy to see this woman and appeared as unconcerned with her state of dress as she was. His face was not furrowed. There was no where-the-hell-were-you in his countenance. He was greeting her with open arms and a smile, clearly relieved and happy to see her.
As for the first gentleman, it appeared for all the world as if he had just enjoyed tea with the lady and was bringing her home at the end of their social visit. This lovely lady looked delighted to be so well attended to.
Neither gentleman looked to the waiting traffic apologetically, as if to say, sorry about all this. They weren’t the slightest bit sorry. They fully expected traffic to halt for this grande dame. And halt it did.
Meanwhile, nobody beeped or looked annoyed or, even worse, amused. It was clear that this lady should be allowed to cross at her own pace, in her own time, pants be damned.
That’s why Wellesley men are hot. In full view of all they go about their daily routine: they go to work, they show up at back to school night, and may even serve on a committee or two around town. Just another day in the life.
It’s what they do when the daily routine takes a detour. It’s then that the true Wellesley man looks around, sees what needs to be done, and does it as if — no matter how unusual the task — he’s done it a hundred times before and it’s really quite simple and please don’t make a fuss.
Like when a lady wanders off and needs safe and respectful shepherding by someone who sees that things aren’t quite right, back home to someone who was grateful that a neighbor was looking out.
It’s the see something, do something model of neighboring, and it was out in full force that day on a busy street in Wellesley.
That’s why Wellesley men are hot.
Belinda Harter says
Fantastic story, thank you!
Such a charming and poignant story!
Tom Doran says
The balance between wrong and right swings a tiny bit the right (as in correct) way.
katie sullivan (gryska) says
I love the romantic vision of respecting the dignity of this older woman! Your words are glorious- thank you for writing.