Off to conquer the world!

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After a rough morning I decided to get out into the sunlight and run some errands.

I entered my local Target and saw an old man, gripping the handle of a shopping cart.

By old I mean hunched and gnarled and so frail looking I thought a light breeze might be able to blow him over. I realized he was just standing there in the doorway so I asked him if he needed any assistance.

"You know," he said slowly, "you're the third person to ask me that." His voice was airy and soft.

Without tilting his head he glanced up at me behind silver rimmed glasses. I don't know if it was even possible for him to move his neck to look up at me properly. It looked permanently fixed in its position so I bent down to meet his eyes. They were livelier than I expected.

"In fact, helps a comin'. Oh here she is," he declared and an old woman in a motorized basket began backing up towards him. In the meanwhile I held the basket he was supporting himself on, afraid it might roll out from beneath him causing him to fall. As the woman parked the motorized basket and he started to shuffle toward it, I gently put a hand under his elbow to assist him. His skin felt like that of an overripe peach; sagging and so thin it could be easily pierced or torn.

I didn't realize I had been holding my breath until he sat down. Then I let out a sigh of relief and made sure he looked secure. He thanked me and then slowly lifted his arm and pointed a bony finger at me, "You will be blessed!" he said in earnest.

I already had been.

I stepped aside and watched as he began driving the cart and as I passed him on the left to continue my shopping he glanced my direction with a twinkle in his eye and said, "I'm off to conquer the world!"