Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So Long Mr. Cooper

Ever since I moved up here to the Mesa five years ago I have, from time-to-time, been getting my exercise by walking up and down the steps that can be found at the end of Mesa Lane and lead to the beach below.

A familiar sight on my morning visits to the steps was "Mr. Cooper," an elderly man who was rail thin and in remarkably good shape. His old school, wide-brimmed hat was his trademark as was his windbreaker and long pants. He would always say hello and sometimes we would stop and talk while he took a break on one of the landings.

In one of our early meetings I remember asking him, "do you walk these steps every day?" "I try to," was his reply. I remember thinking to myself, "If he can climb these stairs every day, then so can I."

Through our brief chats I learned that he lived on the Westside, that he had a woodworking shop in his garage and that he had been a widower for several years.

However, I hadn't visited the stairs lately so I hadn't seen him in a while.

So, it was with some sadness that I found out, when I opened the Independent on Thursday morning of last week, that Mr. Cooper had passed away over the weekend.

Motivating one's self to get out and exercise can be tough at times. With Mr. Cooper no longer around, it just got a little tougher.