When I first started making canes and walking sticks as a hobby, the idea of having to use one myself was not in the forefront of my mind. Canes, I thought, were for older people; people who had difficulty in walking.
I did, however, use a cane when out in public; not because I needed one, but because I found that everywhere I went; stores, restaurants, doctors’ waiting rooms, someone would inevitably comment on my cane.
“Why thank you,” I’d respond. “Yes, I did make this cane.” Then I’d go into detail regarding how it was made and the kind of wood it was made of. I had learned a few species of trees and would use one that I felt wouldn’t be challenged. “This is River Birch,” I’d say (or Cyprus or Hickory). Most people, I found, were no more knowledgeable about trees than me. “Should you ever need one or know someone who does” I’d conclude, “I have a good supply.”
Using a cane had a residual benefit that I’d never anticipated. I gradually started to notice that I was treated with deference. Waiting in line for the check-out station at Wal-Mart, people would actually let me ahead of them. Entering or exiting a restaurant, people would hold the door open for me to enter. I was treated with a kindness I didn’t deserve, but eventually came to an agreement with my conscience.
As you might have guessed, over time I began to rely on my cane more and more. It still served me well as a prop, of course, but better than that it allowed me to go places and do things that I couldn’t have done without it.
The moral of this story, if there is one, is don’t wait until you absolutely have to have a cane to move from place to place. You can start enjoying those residual benefits I told you about now while also getting accustomed to your cane (should you ever actually need one).
A question to ponder:
Does it bother you that doctors call what they