Tuesday, October 02, 2012

No More Good Samaritans? -- Gibson

Monday, September 24th. An exquisite afternoon in my parents' city--until my father discovered something had gone missing.
Daddy set out on his mobility scooter to visit a friend in the hospital almost across the road. En-route home, his scooter tumbled off a curb and he tumbled off the scooter, hitting his head on the concrete.

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.

Among other places, author, newspaper columnist and broadcaster Kathleen Gibson ponders faith and life in Sunny Side Up and on Simple Words.


Peter Black said...

Kathleen, your dad's unfortunate experience contrasts with the one that May and I and my sister and her husband had in Glasgow, Scotland, several weeks ago.
We'd asked a young woman for directions, and flashing us a bright smile and sounding out her strong brogue, she invited us to follow her.
We did our best to keep up with her, surrounded by morning rush hour traffic, as she fairly bounced along streets, crossed at traffic lights, and wove through pedestrians on crowded sidewalks.
She went out of her way and gave us at least 15 minutes of her time -- and that was without her getting back to where she was heading herself. Before we split, I learned that she was in fact on her way for an interview.
Our bonnie wee 'Good McSamaritan lass,' in her genial disposition and generosity, gave us a great welcome back to the city we'd left 44 years ago!

Carolyn Wilker said...

Kathleen, I love your posts for the genuine and down-to-earth points of view. I hope your Dad is alright and that next time, if there is one, the good Samaritan will indeed be there to help.

Kathleen Gibson said...

Wow, Peter...God bless that Good McSamaritan! Thanks for pitching in here, both of you--my father is still navigating the streets. Can't keep the wheel wizard down, as I call him! (He was a professional driver for decades, and in love with all things wheeled.)My brother made him a simple map--we pray he remembers to bring it along!

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