“Have fun!” The friendly cashier bade an elderly lady goodbye and turned to me. “Found everything you needed? What’s so funny?” A big smile adorned my face.
“Oh, the vision of a rounded, bent-over, old lady ‘having fun,'” said I. She smiled and continued to ring up my few items. “Is that really what people do?”
“Oh YEAH, honey! That’s what my father did, right up until he closed his eyes. Was just a while ago.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” I wasn’t sure what to say.
“No, not at all – he was cheerful all the way. Just closed his eyes one night, and was gone. No fuss, no mess.”
“Glad to hear that! My mother too, but she struggled a few days in a hospital.” A pang of guilt arose within; I hadn’t been at her bedside when that happened last year. She’d struggled for a decade with old age and infirmity, and with a mentally challenged daughter to care for. And I – I struggled with…but never mind, I couldn’t get to her bedside soon enough.
“He was in a hospital too, bedridden for a couple of years – almost. A week more and it’d have been exactly two years. Someone ran him off a 300-ft cliff in his car.”
“Heavens! However did he survive that? Was he in a good car?”
“He was in his Chevy truck. The fall banged him up something awful. But he was bright and funny to the end.” She’d finished scanning all my purchases, and the machine displayed $9.24. I gave her a tenner and searched my threadbare pockets for a quarter. “The best part was his story about being in the hospital bed. He said he was never alone.”
“What do you mean?” I found my quarter and handed it over.
“He said Jesus sat at the foot of his bed. ‘What did he say!’ I asked him. ‘There’s nothing to be said,’ said he. He was just peaceful.”
“Oh, he was fooling you…” I couldn’t resist bringing logic into the narration.
“There’s nothing to be said,” said she, handing back my change.