Yesterday, during one of my few lucid moments, I stumbled down the stairs to answer the door. I was going to pretend that I didn't see the person, but he could see me as clearly as I could see him through the glass panels.
A trim, energetic man introduced himself, told me he was 88-years old, and asked me if he could pick the fruit in our back yard. He explained that he was a good tree climber and that he had a ten-foot pole with a bucket at the end. He planned to share the fruit with senior citizens at a nearby nursing home. How could I say "no"?
Ten minutes later, I heard another knock at the door. The beaming man handed me a bag filled with two dozen fresh avocados. "Enjoy these or give em' to your friends," he urged. "Don't you need more to give to the seniors?" I asked. He pointed to two bags bursting with avocados. "I think I have enough and wanted you and your friends to enjoy 'em too."
He went on to tell me that he "still has all his own joints and teeth," is Irish (clearly with the gift of gab) and has a 97-year-old sister who's still climbing trees and picking fruit. I half expected him to do a jig on my front steps.
Now I'm racked with regret. If I had been feeling better, I would have scurried to the back yard t o watch this gentleman in action. Then I would have asked for his name and phone number so that:
- He could come back in the summer to help harvest plums and apricots and in the fall to pluck persimmons.
- I could introduce him to my new friends, a trio of peppy Japanese-American widows in their mid-80s.
- Someone (Debbie at Senior Life?) could do a story about this fascinating guy.
(This essay first appeared at www.cancerbanter.blogspot.com)