The Canadian years, 50, our 'friend' Beverly

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Friday 02 January 16:43

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our ‘friend’ Beverly

The weekend finally arrived and I looked forward to going out with my friends. I was awakened by the chirping of early birds and made an assessment of whether I wanted to remain my bed or would go out. Suddenly I was in a hurry, I jumped out of bed and put a few dollars on me, I would hobble to the cafeteria of Pop and meet my friends there. I just did not want to wait in front of my home. Thus, the 'seriously injured' survivor from the American Civil War later stumbled to the back door, which sounds easier than it is with crutches. You need to stand at a slight angle to open the door using one hand to turn the doorknob and then put your crutch between the opening to ensure that the door doesn’t close on you and then gently pushing and limping, work yourself with little shuffling steps through the door opening to the porch. There were three steps from the kitchen door descending to the garden path and where you normally without thinking would walk down the steps, here again it took the necessary caution. It's easier to go up the stairs with crutches than to descend.

My father had purchased a folding wheelchair for my mother and the little inconvenience that I experienced with the crutches would stay with her forever, for as long as that lasted, but magnified many times.’ For if Mom gets tired during a trip,’ my father had told me, when he unwrapped it and brought it to the workshop. I translated that to myself, if you mother's health deteriorates even more. The wheelchair had gone into the van. I just wanted a few hours for myself, not facing the suffering of my mother and all the complex processes that it called forth in our family, I wanted to be somewhere else. Everything in and around our house always brought me back to her illness. So I limped to 'Pop’s soda. The distance was not too bad or perhaps I had gotten more used to the hobbling.

The door opened with difficulty, because there was a door closer on it and now you had to push and continue to lean on your crutches in the mean time. ‘Good morning, pop’, I said and I looked around me. It was quiet and empty. ‘Well, well,’ said Pop, ‘has the caning master addressed you?’ ‘No, no,’ I laughed,’ I did a little workout, and it got out of hand.’ ‘Sure enough, sport is great,’chuckled Pop,’ I see that too often back in rugby on TV. Oh well if that is what you fancy.’.  ‘ No’, I said, ‘it happend during a gym class and such things happen sometimes. ‘What'll it be’, asked Pop? ‘A large black coffee please,’ I answered and I limped to the table where I had been sitting so recently with Shelly. I looked at the nickel odeum and searched my wallet for a coin of 5 cents. I pressed on: on the road again, by 'Canned Heat'. Canned Heat did not honor her name, it was a very slow psychedelic song, but it was mesmerizing in its simplicity and it caught you in the lyrics, and I understood that all of us in our own way were 'on the road.’ It would be many years a kind of anthem of wandering and freedom for me.

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The door opened and Richard and Beverly came rolling, laughing and joking. ‘Hey’, Richard said, that's our victim here already. We were going to collect you.’ I nodded, and felt my heart swell with joy, these were my friends, my life was not nearly as bad as I thought at times. ‘Yes,’ I said, ’I could not miss Pop any longer. We all laughed the loudest, just good unthreatened and unpretentious. ‘What will it be honey,’ Richard asked Beverly and he saw me grinning in surprise.  I'll have a black coffee as well, Rico baby.’ Now I really had to chuckle. ‘Rico baby,’ I said, get my coffee as well, will you that’ll save Pop a walk. A large American car came sliding past our window into the parking bay, behind the wheel sat Don with a big grin from ear to ear on his face and a big cowboy hat on. ‘Hey, here comes daddy Don’, smiled Beverly, as she took a sip of coffee, she waved to him cheerfully. ‘Nice car’, she said.

‘I need to have wheels,’ sighed Rico.’Hey man’ I said suddenly, ‘I’ll  get wheels on Monday, my own wheels.’ ‘Cool’ , Richard said, ‘that's great, then we can go anywhere.’ Beverly got up and walked to the door and when Don wanted to go inside, she pulled it suddenly opened and bumped into him. ‘Oh’, she play acted, ‘Why do I always walk into big tough naughty strong cowboy men. Are you my big boy, daddy Don?’

The big tough cowboy could not speak and choked. He could just nod. ‘Ah,’ she said, too many hours riding in the saddle. Come along, big mama will help you’. ‘ You’ll enjoy sitting next to me. Then I can keep an eye on your hands.’ ‘I don’t do anything with my hand.’ stammered Don.’ Oh’, she said, ‘you say that now, but we know what you want.’ Our aspiring shrink was speechless and nodded as if he yielded to what even Beverly said. How easy female beauty roped men in. ‘Cowboy, I said,’ may I introduce you’ and I pointed with a sweeping gesture to Richard, to our friend Rico baby.’ ‘Is that right honey,’ I asked Beverly,’ this is still Rico baby, right?’ ‘Yeahh,’ she said slowly, as if she was thinking hard, ’look, Pop is still behind the counter’.. ‘Yep  this is with certainty, Rico baby. I do not pay much attention to faces,’ said Beverly. ‘That is not my interest’. I suddenly understood why in days of old, women were not allowed to work on a ship. They were fun and teasing, but caused a lot of tension.

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Don glanced at her, then simply said, ‘I find you incredibly nice and attractive. You look amazing.’  ‘What do you mean with nice and hot ,’said Beverly?’ ‘I didn’t say hot,’ Don said with a bewildered look. ‘Well that is what it sounded like,’ said Beverly. ‘Hmm I said, to be honest I did not pay much  attention but I do  believe that big Don said ,’hot.’ ’Yes’ Richard supported me, I distinctly heard someone say ‘wild and hot’;  ‘you look wild and hot.’ ‘That does not matter big Don,’ Beverly added, ‘if you think I look nice and hot then you can simply say that. We are among friends here.’ ‘I didn’t say what I thought,’ said Don  nd stopped mid-sentence. Rico and I burst out laughing.

But Beverly was not finished with her interrogation. What do the other men think and she looked at us quizzically. Boy, talk about a flirt, she had us totally under control. I support Don, I said, ‘nice and wild and so on’  ‘I didn’t say that, ’whined Don. Richard said ‘no, I like you better and wilder.’ ‘If the wild men have finished their confessions,’ the voice of Pop, sounded, ‘then this old cave dweller wants to know if he can clean off the table or not.’ ‘A moment please, Pop’, said Beverly, I wanted to tell you all how nice you are.’ ‘ Ohh did I say nice or hot’ she asked immediately.’I am sorry I chuckled,’ ‘my head was not there’. ‘I prefer not to say,’ said Don. ‘You looked at me and said ‘hot’ claimed Rico. Pop shook his head, ‘pff,’ he said,’ I've been there, it is so tiring. Just say what you think, man’ and he made the peace sign.

Moments later we were sitting in the ‘American’ on the road to Happy Valley to experience a few carefree hours of fun, Beverly sat next to her driver and Don grabbed with one hand a pipe from his jacket pocket. He held the lighter out of the car with his glowing point against the tobacco and inhaled a few times deeply and only to blow out the smoke  immediately again. He turned on the radio and started the car, the deep vibration in the floor panels betrayed the power of the engine. I said softly to Richard, ‘I did not know that Don smoked. ‘Yesterday he didn’t, replied Rico baby. ‘I assume that his father is searching himself silly looking for his pipe.’ The mellow sweet smell of toffee tobacco smoke filled the car.

San Daniel 2015

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