Fun At The YMCA

This is primarily for the ladies but you guys are welcome to read my words, too. We all have corners in our lives that turn us into a new direction. Yes, mine was heart valve replacement surgery but three months after that I went to the YMCA in Henderson NC for rehab therapy.

I admit my tongue was in my cheek. I was only there because my cardiologist encouraged it and friends kept urging me to go. So I did. And found much more than strength (after only 3 weeks I dug and planted a 3’ X 30’ herb/flower garden I’ve been wanting for six years but didn’t have the strength to do) and building new exercise habits.

I talked to just about everybody (approximately 40 guys & 5 gals) because everyone made me feel so at ease from the first moment I walked into the gym with wariness, all bug-eyed with –what-do-I-do-next-look in my eyes. I wondered how they knew I was a first-timer. Duh. There is a wide range of age from maybe 30 years and up and up and…..

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday that I went, beaming smiles and hearty ‘good mornings’ greeted me. On leaving for the day, ‘see ya Wednesday’, or ‘enjoy the weekend’ and sincere comments were called out. From the staff, too. I think they probably set the pace for the rest of us to follow.  There was a genuine bond between the team that took prodigious good care of us all.

The chance to make others chuckle came as quickly as I found who I could tease. It was easy to know who liked to do what by just reading the tee shirts worn. Some were obviously fishermen, some walkers for charity, some were into music. You get the picture. Walking laps in a gym gave me the opportunity to read tee shirts and talk. What’s so hard about that?

Many of us wore red shirts on Fridays to honor those who gave the ultimate on past battlefields. One gentleman started the trend and talked to me about it on one of the laps around the gym. I thought perhaps he came from a military family. But no, he began reading WWII novels by W.E.B. Griffin while spending a lot of time in the waiting room of a hospital. That was an author I’d never read but have since he recommended him.

I often notice colors. Must have to do with the artist in me. It just so happened that one Monday I came in and saw nearly half the group were wearing yellow shirts and the other half were in various shades of blue. How does that happen? It was all by chance. Another day I remarked at the number of green shirts worn. Wow.

It tickled me to listen in on the camaraderie when I wasn’t a part of it. Here were people from different socio-economic backgrounds, raised in various places so obviously coming from adverse upbringings that were joyful in coming together to exercise and walk together. How delightful is that.


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