Old man, silver hair tousled. Cast down. And in one of the busiest sections of town, too. I wonder how many people passed him; but not one good Samaritan.
Pouf! Here one century, gone the next.
Somehow Dad managed to right his little machine and climb back on.
“I wasn’t hurt, Kathleen,” he told me later, over the phone. “And the scooter wasn’t damaged. But something really bad happened in my head. I got all turned around.”
It should have taken Dad less than five minutes to scoot home. Instead, he wandered around town for over an hour trying to find his way home. Asking for directions. A few people pointed this way and that, he said, but by the time the words had left their mouths they’d rushed away and Dad, who had increasing memory challenges even prior to his fall, had already forgotten what they’d said.
(“My memory?” he often answers when I ask him how his brain is doing this week. “Great! Good as new! Hardly ever used it!”)
And so it happened, that after helping others all his life, Daddy found no one to help him. To take five minutes and guide him home. That he arrived there eventually, and recognized the place, could only be thanks to the Father who has guided him all his life.
Forget “state of the nation” speeches. Nations consist of "state of the heart.” These days, (generally speaking): petrified of strangers, disrespectful of elders, afraid to touch anyone we’re not related to or in love with and too self-centered to get involved. And even if we weren’t all that, in cases like Dad's most of us assume everyone carries a cell. Not Dad. Never has. Never will.
He told me about getting lost a few days after it happened, when I called from two provinces over to wish him a happy 89th birthday. It took a few days for his head to clear, he said.And that’s when I learned about the disappearance of the Good Samaritans.
I’m not pointing fingers at one city. Things like that happen where I live too. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone at all. I’m doing what my darlin’ dad told me he was doing, after he noticed my long pause at the other end of his story.
“I’m okay, Kathleen,” he said, worried about me now. “Really. I guess I just needed to cry on your shoulder awhile.”
Forgive me. I guess that's what I'm doing on yours. Good Samaritans shone rather beautifully in the world, you see. I already miss them.
Kathleen Gibson ponders faith and life in Sunny Side Up and on Simple Words.