Cane and Able

“Did you get your cane?”

“Did you get your cane?”

Yes, and more times than twice that was the question all last Sunday morning. I’d already written about the delightful breakfast hangin’ with the guys at the Bomber restaurant. And I have written, perhaps ad nauseum, of my new hip joint and all the wonderful progress and I cannot help it that things are going well and that I feel good. In terms of pain in my left leg, it is negligble. A “1” is what I told the doctor (at my follow-up PCP visit [that’s primary care physician for those not in the medical field and I am making that up of course because I only dabble and am not actually in any field at all but it seems right as an acronym]) and do I really need any medicine precriptions now, cuz I am not taking anything and it feels fine?

She said “no” with a smile rarely seen on the face of a doctor. It was the smile of having seen a patient for ten years and followed him on a journey toward health and he has now arrived at the end of the portion of the journey that was filled with more need for a medical doctor than the portion of the journey henceforth—you know the smile.

Yes, I got my cane I told every guy who asked me at church last Sunday. How is it that they all know I lost my cane? Do they know that I called the Bomber restaurant on Saturday and told them I’d had breafast there with a bunch of guys and that I thought I’d left my cane there? And the guy on the phone knew exactly the kinds of guys that were in a room at the back of the Bomber, that it was a room full of old guys with hats and canes. Did my guys know that too? Do they know that the Bomber staff was so kind on the phone and the young man who spoke was speaking clearly and loudly, with careful enunciation, as he told the kind old codger (me:) that “we will find your cane for you sir (emphasis his)” and that he took my phone number but hung up with a thankyou before I finished giving him the last four digits, so of course they will find it but they will not call me, omg.

As it turns out, I had left my cane in the car of another guy who brought me home, and he had handed it to me first thing Sunday at church, and then all the questions ensued. They were questions which were all one: “Did you get your cane?” And they were all said with care and compassion except for “J” who had a glint in his eye as he asked me. Yeah,  I hear you . . . I thought. With and now without my cane, I am able to keep up just fine thank you very much, and my walking has apparently increased on the “ability” scale in direct correlation to a decline in my “responsibile for family heirlooms” part of the scale.

After the glint, he got serious, and “J” and I had a good conversation about the breakfast and how good it is for men to fellowship in such a setting and I said yeah it was really a fine time and he said it was great that the church picked up the tab too since we were over budget in church contributions this year to the men’s program and there is money left over and it was nice how “L” just paid the bill for us. Sure, that is great, I said, and then I got my own “”glint.”

“I had to undo all of my math,” I said to “J”.

“And on a Saturday morning too, that’s not easy, you know, to do math and then to undo it all precisely.” It takes one to know one and he sees my glint so he knows something is up and he follows perfectly. So, you had to undo your math, huh, he smiles.

“Yep, I had ordered the number nine. You see, I was intrigued by all of the meal names like Bombadier and The White Cliffs of Dover and I wasn’t sure if, by ordering a certain item, I would be paying tribute to it or would I be sorta in mourning about it because it is close to Memorial Day and all? I did not want to mourn, so to avoid that mental predicament I ordered the number “9”, one egg, two strips of bacon, whole wheat toast. I knew the price and had already figured the tip and checked my wallet and pulled out preciseely the amount of money needed to pay my bill and then suddenly “L” announced that the church would pay the bill, so I had to undo all of that math that I had done.”

He laughed and welcomed me silently into the “Fellowship of the Glint” and we moved on.

I called to him (loudly, so as to rise above any of the hearing aids in the room), “At least I have my cane.”