Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Comforts of Home

Yesterday our neighbor Kathleen called me and asked me did I see Joe and the new kid on the block, a male teenager, and Joe walking down the street. I said no, I rarely look out our front window, unless I am expecting company. She said the teenage son of a new family and Joe were walking down the street and Joe was pointing out things to the kid, Joe was the boy’s official Welcome Wagon. Joe and the other boy was smoking, taking deep thoughtful draws off the smokes. It is a fact, if you take a long deep thought you have insight and reach a level of objectivity on a far higher plane than your average person.

On the tour I wondered if Joe pointed out to the new kid that the garage behind the empty house next to him, the side door is opened. That could be a haven for kids of Joe’s caliber – a place to carry your girls and smoke dope…. Wait! Why would Joe want to do that in a cold old garage when he can do that in the comforts of his own home?

It made me think of a time years ago, when Joe across the street was under five years old, while working in the yard one day I heard Joe yell and I looked over and he was on top of their house. Their house is two levels. The carport is beside the house. Bob left a ladder propped against the house at the carport. Evidently Joe climbed up the ladder, got on top of the carport, then jumped onto the house roof with angled down near the top of the carport. Joe was saying, more or less: “Look at me! Look at me!”
I panicked and ran over to there house and went to the front door to bang on it to tell Bob that Joe was on top of the house. To get to their front door I had to pass their front window. I saw Bob inside, with a chair very close to a little TV and he was watching cartoons – the type of cartoons that Hannah Barber made, or the kind that would be on the Cartoon Network… the same kind the TV has been set to when you return to your motel room. I urgency banged on the door and Bob came and I told him Joe was on top of the house. I expected him to panic and run out and do something urgent to get his son down.

He did do something urgent. He got away from the Cartoon Network for at least a minute. He stuck his head out the door and screamed in a bellowing voice, “Joe! Get your Ass down – NOW!”

I stayed there to make sure he came down and to hold the ladder for him. I think Bob had something else to tend to… maybe a Acme exploding dynamite stick or something equal as exciting.

Years after that, after Bob had knocked down my mailbox for the fourth time and we got a PO Box Bob knew my routine. He knew about 10:00 every morning I would go get the mail. One morning he was out waiting for me. He waved me down as I was backing up and he handed me a few dollars and asked me to get him a pack of cigarettes while I was out. That is funny in a way…. He was using his blunder of knocking down our mailbox as an advantage – a way for him to get cigarettes delivered to him.

I got the pack of cigarettes and brought them up to the door. Again, I had to go by the front window to get to the door. Again, there was Bob inches from the TV watching cartoons.

It is good to be consistent. I think Bob is a time proven cartoon-connoisseur.

Now, fast forward to present time.

I have only seen Bob once in the past week. I saw Bob’s mother’s car back out of Ann’s driveway and as I was working in the yard I saw that Bob was riding “Shotgun” but with that family, it may not just be a seat position.

The last I heard Anne said Bob was eaten up with cancer and he could come back home and spend his last days with his family.

I have been reminded that he told her the same thing, that he was eaten up with cancer, and somehow found himself living in a cardboard box near Detroit a couple years ago after one of the times he was released from prison.

So, is Bob at his old home with his daughter, son, and ex-wife taking care of him in his last days? Is he just lying there letting people drop grapes in his mouth and hand feeding him ice cream?

If so, I wonder if she will take me in. I am in my last days too! It may be last years, which will be many last days… however, my left leg does hurt, especially when I laugh.

So, maybe they will set up an extra bed in front of the TV so I can be comfortable my last days… although, Bob and I may have a problem with what we watch – will it be the Cartoon Network or “Law and Order” reruns?

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