|I sketched the view we got on our return to help out.|
Yesterday morning Therese and I decided to go have breakfast in town as our "Labor Day" extravaganza. It was still raining as it had been for the last couple of days as Tropical Storm Lee stalled out and dumped the area with ten or twelve inches of the wet stuff. We had heard that the storm would be clearing out by the afternoon, but by then, we'd be in the middle of our chores, so this was the best time to be together.
We drove about one quarter mile on our way to the main highway when Therese saw a large, blue and white umbrella lying down on the limestone gravel driveway.
"What's that?" she asked as we sped ahead in the rain towards breakfast.
"Looks like a guy sitting in the driveway with his morning paper and umbrella, reading," I said.
Just then, an SUV turned ahead us with a very large black garbage bag propped on the roof of the car.
"Gee, I said, I wonder if that driver knows he has a bag of garbage on top of his car and I wonder where he's going with it?"
Therese, then asked me, if I thought the guy reading the paper with his umbrella was all right but before I could answer, we both saw a woman hastily dodging raindrops in her night gown and slippers to check the mail.
"Wow, everyone sure is acting strange today," Therese said. "Maybe, it's cabin fever, having had to stay indoors for all this time while the storm did its thing!"
"I don't know, but she's getting wet for nothing. Today's a holiday for the post office", I snickered.
Just as we slowed down to turn left onto the main highway, my wife asks again, " You sure that guy in the driveway is okay?"
By now, I had time to think and put all of the strange pieces together. "No, I replied. "I am not sure. Maybe, we should drive back, just in case!"
"I sure wish your guilt had better timing,"she said as she turned around and headed back towards the house where the rock limestone driveway would make anyone seated very uncomfortable, whether they were reading the paper in the rain or not. Arriving from the other direction, we could better see that a rather tall, thin, white haired man in a red high school alumni tee shirt and matching shorts, was crumpled up awkwardly under a large, golf umbrella.
"Are you all rght?" Therese asked, as she rolled down the window and put the car in park.
"Yes, I'm fine except I can't get up!"
"Well, then sir, you're not fine... let us help you get up," she answered while I jumped out of the car and ran up the driveway. It took me two unsuccessful tries to get him uncrumpled and standing before I succeeded while the misty rain started back up. As it became a pretty good drizzle, it was clear to me that he was gonna need some assistance walking about fifty feet or so back to his front door.
With very slow and deliberate steps, the old man, I guess embarrassed by his gaffe and having to be rescued from his ordeal, chattered about everything from his poor choice of footwear to get the newspaper, to Therese's new Honda Fit comparison with his Prius. His gas mileage, his red outfit, teaching and, of course, the weather, were all topics of discussion as I held his hand and Therese covered his head with the umbrella.
Arriving finally underneath the shelter of his carport, he said, "I can take it from here unless my wife has me locked out! She boards up everything before we sleep at night and sometimes I don't know how to get out, in the morning!" And as I laughed and started to walk away, the old man tentatively leans against his Prius and says with a wry smile...
"I'm a bit angry at my wife. Who knows how long I'd be out there stranded in the rain before she'd miss me!"
Copyright 2011/Ben Bensen III