There was a car slowly cruising up and down Woodside Avenue, and having nothing better to do, having just finished mowing my lawn, I watched it. I felt rather mellow, as a cool, well-prepared martini tended to make me feel on a hot afternoon, especially after several hours of work on the perfect lawn. The car, moving so slowly up and down the street, was unusual because there was really nothing special to see on Woodside, just houses, lawns and trees. So, I watched it, until it came to a stop in front of the house next door, and a tall, burly man in his mid-forties stepped out of the car. He limped to the front porch of our neighbor’s house, the limp being caused by the blue, flexible cast on his right leg, which covered it from thigh to ankle. I called out a friendly hello from the shade of my porch, and then decided to save him a few steps, as walking seemed difficult for him. I left my porch, walked towards him and told him not to bother going up the several steps of the front porch, as the neighbors weren’t home. I had seen the boys, led by their father, going off to a Boy Scout meeting, while the girls had gone off to a church meeting with their mother. My neighbors were lovely people, who, however, still flew a 48-star flag on holidays.
He wasn’t interested in the family living in the house, didn’t know them, but he wanted to know whether the old lady who used to live on the second floor, the piano teacher, still lived there. He said that when he was a teenager he used to wash her windows and run little errands for her. At the time he and his family, which included his two brothers, had all lived in the corner house, in what was now the Cole house, although he didn’t know who lived in that house now. He had spent all of his early years in that house, and remembered the neighborhood with a great deal of affection. It was at this point that I became really interested because I had known “the old lady upstairs,” and it looked like I was finally going to get some answers to questions about our house which had troubled me for some time. So, I introduced myself, and he introduced himself as George, and I asked him if he would join me over on my porch, where it was cool and we’d be closer to the beer, and he was willing enough. We sat there on my front porch in the cool shade of a hot Friday afternoon, and we began to talk.
I’m going to stop here for a moment to explain that I always ask someone who is injured how it happened, how did he or she feel now? George had that tremendous, blue cast on his leg, and so I just had to find out how that had come about. I am not now nor have I ever been a candidate for sainthood, and because this questioning of the injured may give a false impression about how sensitive and caring I really am, I’d better explain why I do this. Unfortunately, this particular post is getting a bit long, and so, if you’re interested, you’re going to have to indulge me, and read about that in the next post.