Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | |
four years ago I was sent by the Red Cross Motor Corps to pick up a patient for
one of the Hospital Clinics. It was the day of a blizzard and the street in his
‘project’ wasn’t cleared. I walked in through the drifts to see if I could get
him into the car, and found a 75 year old man with no legs.
the man interested me, and on other trips, through the years, that interest
grew. We had many difficult times – once a friend of his and I carried him out
to the car, but mostly he made it himself on his crutches and peg legs. He had
courage, sense of humor, a fine speaking voice and definite charm. When we
happened to be alone in the car he told me stories of his boyhood in British
Antigua; of his first drinking experience – champagne given him by an older boy
who worked at ‘Government House’ – and how ill he had been! Since then he only
touched liquor on Christmas and Easter. On those days he made an egg nog and
was famous for his skill.
Having been a janitor in various apartment houses around
Boston, he had a lot of friends. One Christmas Eve he was given a bottle of
whiskey and a bottle of rum. Both went into that year’s egg nog. His first
customer next morning was the milk man who, after taking two glasses, continued
his round. All went wonderfully with the milk man until, near Cleveland Circle,
he came out of a house and the milk wagon just didn’t look good enough to him;
so he climbed onto the horse and galloped round and round the Circle, the cart
full of bottles after him, and an irate policemen in hot pursuit! There were
more dignified tales, but all told with that fascinating English intonation.
Yesterday was the day of his funeral and I took a little
vase of flowers – roses, pansies, and forget-me-nots, to honor his memory.