Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dinner with an Old Friend

I had dinner with an old friend last night. I've talked with him on the phone several times over the last two years but had not seen him. A few years ago he lost most of his eye sight so he is legally blind now. There was an operation that gave him a little sight but it's almost like walking in a dark room he says. So, anyway, two years ago he had a stroke and though we'd talked on the phone I was not prepared for when I went to pick him up. The door opened and he stood there looking very feeble to me. Walking to my truck was no easy task for him, he shuffled along, but I made no point to dwell on his disability to him. He struggled to close the door with his left hand because his right arm does not work.
Getting to the restaurant was slow as it was raining hard but luckily it let up when we arrived. I noticed that when we began to get out that he was looking over at me to see where I reached for my door handle. So I pretended not to notice but made my move slowly so he would see where I reached. This was at one time a very active friend who was in great physical shape and I did not want to embarrass him.

At the table he couldn't read the menu as the waiter was there to take our orders so I said to my friend: "Did you not bring your glasses with you?" I said this because he does still wear a pair. The waiter was really patient and I said that I needed more time. The waiter went off to do something else to give us more time. I read down the menu out loud as If I was reading to myself and making comments on certain dishes so my old friend could hear what was on the menu. You see, I was trying to help him keep his dignity and I hope I was not wrong.
We ordered and began to drink our coffee as the order was placed. My friend fumbled with trying to open one of those little creamers with his one good hand. I offered my help and actually the glue on it made it a bit tough to pull the lid off.
We talked and laughed and caught up on things during the meal; it was a generally good time as we both got lost in subjects of better times.

( I must add here that seeing my friend at the door was somewhat of a shock. After I took him back home, my drive was in a sort, sad for my friend, but also full of thought which provoked me to begin having a look at myself. Where am I and what would I like to do. Am I happy with where I am at this point in life? How fast it all went down for him, he went to bed fine one night and awoke paralyzed on one side from a stroke. )


mq01 said...

you're a loving friend wooley. im sure that the evening means the WORLD to your friend.

FLHX_Dave said...

I have been thinking about this exact subject. It really does suck getting old. It's a blessing and a curse wrapped into one package.

You are a good man. You did right because you let the man still retain some independence and pride.

We are all gonna need some help in the future. Let us all hope that we can have a friend such as yourself by our side.

Life is certainly not fair. All we can do it try to level the playing field as best we can.

This is why not one of us should consider ourselves self sufficient, because that could all end just a few seconds from now.

Thanks for the real life moment.

WooleyBugger said...

mq01, I do know that he was having a good time talking and catching up. We use to work together years ago and we had one of those unspoken work relationships. We loaded and unloaded trucks all day with forklifts and we never had to speak, we just knew what the other was going to do. It's a weird kind of thing that we even knew what the other was thinking. Like a long time riding partner that you are both in the same zone.

You are right and there just aren't any guarantees. My old friend is the type that you can joke with and give shit to each other but also one who can drop the bullshit to talk to you about lifes ups and downs when your in need. Some people just can't get past the bullshit stage and you can't have a real meaningfull conversation. They mean well but are to shallow or uncomfortable having a deeper conversation.
My friend was the kind who could give you a ration and tell you like it is, ( I always listened and respected his advice),but also back you up with all he had if need be no matter what your differences were at the moment.
I respect him still and hope he does me.