Mr. Isaacs by Marjorie Lyon

Three or 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.

Immediately 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.