By Ron Cooper
That’s odd, I thought, as I watched a man trying to retrieve his mail. He stood there motionless for 30 seconds, staring at the mailbox, his right hand shaking. Then, one by one, the trembling hand dropped the letters onto the ground. At the end, he held only one.
Amazingly, he didn’t even look down, and then walked away. I went over and picked up the mail, noted his name and unit number, and returned it to him.
“Oh, thank you so much,” he said. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Sometimes I just seem to lose track of things.”
“I had a major stroke some weeks ago, and realized it too late to get the intervention that I needed,” he explained. “I’m in rehab, but the recovery is coming along very slowly.”
“Bob” lived alone and had few visitors. Fate had brought us together and a new friendship was born.
Frequently, I stopped by his apartment to accompany him to the mailbox. He couldn’t go much farther and relied on a walker for mobility.
Weeks later, Bob’s independence had returned as he made the mail run solo.
His trembling right hand again dropped all but one letter and once again he stared into space before returning home.
Again, I gathered up his abandoned mail and handed it over.
“Oh, I wish you hadn’t done that,” he joked. “It’s just bills. I’ll get around to them sometime. The doctor told me the other day that I have suffered some small strokes. I have some more tests ahead of me. What will be will be.”
Yet, he never complained and was always cheerful.
Bob eventually moved to another state to go under the care of his relatives. I miss him, and occasionally look out my living room window to imagine him at the mailbox. Only this time, he has finally conquered the elusive mail. He clutches it confidently and heads home without the aid of a cane or a walker.
And he doesn’t drop a single darn letter on the way!