Today was a banner day for me. I got new rugs for the kitchen. I had gone with hooked rugs the last time, but they are not practical for the kitchen. They just need washed too often. Or maybe I'm a slob. Who knows? This time, learning from my errors, I got three rag rugs, things that can easily be tossed in the washer and dryer and back on the floor in no time flat.
We came out of the store, and it was a lazy afternoon. We ambled down the road to a farm to price the sweetcorn. 50 cents an ear, just like everywhere else, but they were big, freshly picked ears, We got 7 ears.
Headed back down the highway, I said, "Do you want to go for a walk?" Out of the blue, Tim said, "I want to go up and see Ray,
I was a little surprised. Back when Tim and I first met, 25 years ago, we were both working at a factory. He had two friends, Ray and John. After Tim and I got married, Ray and John came over pretty regularly for supper. Being single, they liked a homecooked meal and the men liked to blab about work.
The factory closed down, and we all went our separate ways, on to different jobs. John got a girlfriend. He died of cancer some years back. Ray never did get married, He came close once, but in the end, he's just a hermit at heart, an affable, bearded, shy fellow. I wondered why he popped into Tim's head. Seriously. I hadn't seen Ray in years.
When we pulled up in front of his little house, there was no car in the driveway. "He's not home," I said.
Tim said, "His car might be in the garage." He got out of the car and knocked on the door. He waited a while, and then returned to the car. We had begun to back out of the driveway, when the door of the house opened. I wouldn't have recognized Ray. He's lost 1/3 of his body weight. But his voice was the same. So was his laugh.
He invited us inside. He's been sick. He hasn't been eating well. I think it is one of those situations where he needs to eat more because he's losing weight, but he's too weak to fuss about cooking and so he doesn't eat, which has him losing more weight.
I listened to him talk and I was horrified.
We had a nice visit. He still drives, and he's coming to supper.
We drove back down that hill, sober, lost in our own thoughts. It was a shock to think that something like this could happen to our old friend, living his quiet, hermit life, wasting away.
There are many things in life that we cannot fix, but we can make sure that he is fed.