Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The sick and the woebegone

I’m in the process of my yearly checkup, which I manage to have about every five years.  This morning was the blood-work.  I sat in the waiting room trying to read The Vichy Syndrome, but Rousso was no match for the ladies that sat across from me.  They behaved as though they recognized each other but that may not have been the case.   The younger woman was full of praise for a vest the older woman had made for her husband, but I was struck by the way she described him:  “He married me when I had seven children.”  This was intended as high praise and the younger woman took it as such.  When he finally sat down next to his wife, the younger woman said, “you are a wonderful, wonderful man to help raise those seven children.” 

He said, “well I had been five years in the army and I knew something about organization.”  Then he looked around and seeing I was the only other man noticed that I wore a wide-brimmed hat.  His hat was roughly the same shape as mine and he informed me he needed his because of all his skin cancers.  I told him I needed mine to keep the sun and bugs off of my head and out of my eyes.  But he wanted to talk about his cancers.  He pointed to his nose and said part of it had been cut off but the doctors had replaced it with pig skin.  Look you can see it here and here as he pointed to his face and ears. 

He had other things wrong with him, diabetes, I think, and some other things.  His wife had some things wrong with her as well, but I didn’t get to hear about those.  She let him have the floor.  At one point she fondled and patted the vest she had made for him.  When he spoke of the scars on his face, she touched them.    They had been married 52 years and at another point in the conversation he said he was 28 when they married.  He told me some of the stories that he must have told hundreds of times before.  Finally my name was called.

Do you see all those footprints in the sand?  I made them.  They go further back than is shown in this photo.  And I had even more to make in the direction I was going.  This is the sort of thing doctors ask you to do after you have had your heart attack, but I figured, why wait?


Over the last couple of years we’ve encountered a fellow living at the river.  At first he had a motorcycle, but then he seemed to be without it.  I saw someone somewhat like him walking along the street toward the market.  Perhaps that was him, but I hadn’t seen him recently so we went by his spot today.  It was not only deserted but a bit torn up. 



I took some photos of the view he had while he lived there:


Maybe the recent heavy rain drove him out.  Maybe the economy picked up enough for him to get his old job back.  Or maybe something else happened.  He had a pair of shoes by a sort of entrance as though he intended to come back.  Someone had put a broken bottle in one of the shoes.


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