Sept. 28, 2015
This is the story of last weekend when I went to help one of my buddies who just got home after 6 months in the hospital. He's 74 and a widower.
I arrived it at Ed's about 7:45AM. Ed was up and in his chair, baseball hat on. Plaid shirt with a white T-shirt underneath that hung out about 6 inches, black shorts (appropriately stained), white socks and diabetic shoes. I gave Ed my usual crack; “Are those your legs or are you riding a chicken?” No response, he was immune. Ed's diabetic shoes had a few tight spots in them but after a visit to the band saw, the tight spots were gone. Now they were more akin to diabetic sandals. I asked him if he was ready to go for breakfast and indeed he was. I suggested that he put on some pants and he told me that was out of the question. "It is going to get up to 80 degrees today", so off I went to breakfast with the slob. Great care was taken as Ed drove me to breakfast. Let me make that clear, the sick guy drove. It was his independence afterall. He needed to be in control. God help me and God help the other divers on Highway 59 as Ed stopped cold on the highway prior to making the right turn into the Cornfield Cafe. With his walker out we avoided the hole that took out his buddy Jerry yesterday as his wheelchair froze in the hole and Jerry didn't. The owners of the cafe covered the hole with a sheet of plywood. Welcome to Minnesota.
We entered the cafe and Ed's very own chair was appropriately parked in the corner. Ed had bought three chairs and had them delivered to his three favorite restaurants for his use. Decor be damned, everyplace needs a black vinyl and steel padded chair! I grab the chair; we walk to a table and sit down. Ed was greeted by many of the staff. Many of the patrons came over to say hello. Karen, the owner, took care of us personally. With that, Ed ordered a large plate of hash browns covered with gravy. I pointed out that that meal wasn't in the ADA (American Diabetes Association) field manual but he dismissed my comment out of hand. I asked him if he was trying to grow beard noting that he had 12 different lengths of facial hair particularly the hairs on his upper lip that stuck out further then his nose. He ignored me. I told him that I needed to resurrect his dad to kick his ass for being such a hobo. With his finger buried in his right nostril up to his elbow he said he didn't give a shit then wiped his finger across the front of his shirt. The boy has gone feral.
Like men do we instantly moved on. Dinner conversation was great. He talked about his days at 3M and the "3M Method". He pontificated about his greatness and his stupidity, what he learned and what he couldn't get through his Polish skull. We discussed shop topics that an apprentice machinist should know - that I don't. We talked about all kinds of things including the fact that he forgot his wallet so breakfast was on me.
As we finished up our breakfast a group of elderly ladies who knew Ed sat down at the table right beside us. Several of them greeted Ed warmly and wished him well. As Ed rose to leave I stepped over to the table and said; "Ladies, divert your gaze for if you catch glimpse of Ed's exposed legs it might resurrect hormonal processes that have been dormant for decades." They all had a look at Ed's legs and the giggling ensued. It was one of my finer moments. Ed smiled and shook his head and off to home I went with Mario Andretti.
Ed had some boxes that he wanted me to help him with. First we filed up the back of my pick up truck with empty cardboard boxes. Next I encouraged Ed to empty out some boxes full of things before I left.
The first box had a shower chair in it. Ed ordered it from Amazon. I reminded Ed that he already had a chair built into the shower but he stated he didn't like that one. I told him the only problem with that strategy is that there's not room for two chairs in the shower, but he was undaunted. We opened it up and assembled the PVC chair. We giggled as we put the chair together in that all the parts had left hand thread. No "lefty loosey, righty tighty" here. I figured it must have come from south of the equator like New Zealand where the water swirls in a different direction than it does here. It was nice. He asked me to put it in the shower. I said it didn't really fit but I may have mentioned this, he didn't care. I suggested that we add a table then we could both eat lunch in there.
The second box I grabbed was pretty incredible. It had ankle braces, four wallets, 6 watches, a teaspoon, a box of Cheerios, a brand-new T-shirt that had never been worn, clip-on neckties from the Pleistocene, a tie clip, a blue sock, a black sock and a tiny pair of orange socks that were festooned with a happy face with ears. We found his wedding ring, a commemorative plaque from the Sugar Beet Growers Association in recognition of service rendered in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992, a few Ziploc bags, a single shoe lace, three shoe inserts (one left and two right), a couple packets of Splenda, The Order of the Arrow sash from Boy Scouts that was older that I was, a couple remote-controls and one flip phone with three cases to include a quick draw model. Last but not least, 5 hankies, all plaid. Ed has a thing for plaid. It’s Minnesota.
Some of it was put away; the rest went into the back of my truck. I went to the dump and Ed went to exercise.
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Bob & Connie on February 18, 2016:
Good read about the Pollock in Pelican. Ed is very lucky to have a friend like you Bob! Especially one that can see the humor in things!