Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer School 9: Fine, Friday, be that way.

Originally published June 16, 2017

Friday morning, I load up two bags for Mr. D* - one with bacon, chicken wings and microwavable meals, one with brand new tags-on clothes sent by someone who has never met him – and start my car. It goes puff puff cough and dies.  I start it again and it again sounds like it has bronchitis and turns off.

Fine, Friday, be that way. 

I don’t have time to figure out what is wrong so I go back in and wake Zoe up to tell her I’m taking her car.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration.  I stood in her doorway and whispered I’m taking your car and she didn’t protest.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

When I get to campus I find Mr. D* walking towards me outside our building.  He’s been up since 4, sitting on a bench and tells me there is a very large owl that lives around here and checks on people who sit on benches in the pre-dawn hours.  When we get to my office I make him a table and lay out the bacon (I’m out of Poptarts) and start to show him all the clothes that were sent to him. He declares he’s wearing the new khakis to church to go say thank you to God. 

While Mr. D* is talking to me, a student J* brings by her service project donation and asks me to go through it to make sure she’s brought the right stuff.

 She’s never met Mr. D* but he introduces himself and she sits down gracefully to join us for the breakfast circle.  She shows him pictures of her daughter and he asks her if she’s taken her daughter on walks and taught her about trees.  Both of us shake our heads.  He asks if she’s taught her daughter how to fly a kite and then tells us how they used to make kites from scratch. I wish I’d paid more attention so that I could write that up for you!

Before Mr. D* leaves to go to off on his errands and catch his bus to take care of this and that so that hopefully he will have an apartment next Wednesday, J* opens her wallet and gives him a little money.

 He almost cried. She almost cried.

I told them there is no time for crying, and off he went.  I will see him again on Monday.

I’m sure I will, even though he has a head cold on top of chronic incurable health issues. 

My student stays and we talk about what just happened.  She was overwhelmed by how good it felt to help someone, and surprised at how easily it all happened. 

In fact, she was just going to email me her question but since she was on campus, she came up to my office, and maybe that was the universe whispering to her.  

Aren’t you glad you listened to that little voice? I ask.
She agreed.

We talk about this and that and I send her off because I should probably get my work done in time to get Zoe’s car home before she wakes up.

Before I get rolling on my work, I check Facebook and email and that’s how I found out the sad news about my friend and cheerleader and co-conspirator, Debbie.

I’ve only known Debbie for a few years but she loved books and I love books and she loved to read and I love to write and every single minute we had together, we had fun. She sent food to the veterans and brought me bags of food and towels to give them on holidays.

Debbie always found ways to be useful and kind, and as I sit her crying trying to make something out of this tragedy, I’m equal parts shocked and angry.