Friday, October 21, 2011
The Optimist’s Club –or –Spread love like you’ve got a shovel ….. Flash Fiction
I went to an antique car show with my camera and spent a wonderful couple of hours taking pictures and talking to anyone I happened to see. During the course of the morning I was asked to lunch by a twenty three year old and a seventy two year old. I declined the twenty three year old because, well, I have socks older than him, but I took a shine to the seventy two year old and after he sweetened the invite by telling me he'd buy me a slice of pie [and I wasn't even wearing my I heart pie button] I agreed to the date and followed him to a diner about a mile down the road.
We went in for lunch and stayed for dinner.
We talked and laughed for nine hours straight. I had to get up twice to go out and run around the diner because my legs were stiff.
When we walked out to our cars, I reached up and gave Rich a hug. He returned it with a squeeze that pulled me off my feet and popped my back. He said I was the first woman tall enough to hug him properly since his wife died.
Now here's the thing that gets me. Three days later my phone rang and Rich's name came up on the display. He told me he'd call when he got home and settled, so I figured he was home and settled.
I answered it with a smile and a: "Well hello there, darlin', did you make it home ok?"
There was a pause on the other end. It went on long enough that I looked at my phone to make sure the call hadn't been dropped. Just when I was going to hang up and call him back, a man cleared his throat and said, "I'm calling for my dad….."
Turns out Rich made it home, but died in his bed the night he got back. Also turns out he knew he was dying when we were having lunch. As a matter of fact he'd known for a couple of weeks. His son said his dad had always looked on the bright side of things, and thought life was what you made of it. He was calling to ask me for my zip code. Said his dad had left an envelope for me on the nightstand.
People looked at me strange at the post office, but I didn't care. It was either stand there and laugh, or stand there and cry. The envelope had a thank you note in it. Rich said I'd been a balm to his soul. He said a lot of other beautiful things, but the thing that I'll always remember was the ps.
PS: Life is like a good cup of coffee, and I got to enjoy both until the very last drop.