Three recent stories told to me by men who were about my age; two from the same man, as I sat waiting for my new tires to be put on, the other while I was at the antique mall and was taking a coffee break with the owner.
"My wife passed away last year. None of her children from her former marriage had spoken to her in over twenty years, and we didn't have any children together. So her children didn't come when she was dying of cancer. I planned to have a little memorial service for her at our home, and then scatter her ashes in our yard as she had requested. But no one could come for a service, so I had to come up with a way to spread her ashes. I got the trash can and poured her ashes out on top of it. Then I took the leaf blower and just blew them away. It worked great. Now, no matter where I go in the yard, I know that some part of her is there too." He paused, then added, "I sure miss her. She was my best friend, and now I am all alone."
"I have a friend who has to have oxygen. Well, those tanks that you carry around with you, the ones you get from medical supply companies, are expensive. Her insurance didn't cover all the cost of them. One day I took her to Walmart and her tank ran out. She didn't have another one, and she told me she couldn't buy any more for the rest of the month because she couldn't afford them. That made me upset and angry. No one should have to run out of breath because they can't afford oxygen. So I figured out how to get her set up so she could get the tanks a whole lot cheaper (I can't remember all the details of how he did this). It cost me $3000 to get it all set, but now she won't have to worry about not being able to breathe."
This man told me another story about how he writes to a friend in New England who has a disabled daughter. Every time he writes or visits, he includes some little gift for this grown daughter. What a guy. Would that more people could be like him--he wasn't bragging, just telling me about his friends.
"I was wondering what a 5 gallon jug would be worth. You know, one of those made like a crock, brown on top and off-white below, with a handle?"
We told him (usually about $10 a gallon, unless the jug is unique in some way, i.e. writing or designs on it), and then he went on:
"I live outside of Columbus, Ohio, and one day I went out to visit an old feller I'd heard about who lived all by himself way out in the country. He was kind of a hermit, really, never came out of there to go anywhere. Anyway, we talked for a good whle, and I enjoyed him. He was interesting, you know? When I went to leave, he picked up this crock that was sitting there and handed it to me, saying, "Here, here's something to remember me by." A few days later he had a heart attack and they took him to the hospital. He died on the operating table. He was 93 years old. I bet he knew they wouldn't let him go back home, and if he couldn't be there, he just didn't want to live any more."
People. They can tell you the most amazing stories.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.