Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Front Yard Rabbit

Richard and I meet a little after six am on the sidewalk in front of our houses. One of us gets there early and begins the warm up by pacing up and down the street. The walks are safe. The neighbour to the east of Richard not only shovels his walk, but he sweeps it, as well … and he does the same to the house next door to him. That is a lot of social pressure, but Richard and I do not succumb. We shovel – we don’t shovel and sweep.

This morning Richard came out of the house and his face was double wrapped with a scarf. He had on a toque … maybe two of them, for he told me he found on his bike rides in the winter, that two toques are better than one.

He seems taller. I think it is the winter boots that add a couple of inches of height but he seems so much taller that I wonder if I am going to have to yell to get my voice heard that high.

We chat about everything on the walk.

Rebecca, you are the one who started this walking in the summer – a different group, but that is where I learned to “toss the feather” to the one who needs to talk next. So Richard and I toss the feather and keep out of each other’s conversation unless something bubbles up and can’t be squelched.  Then we call for the feather.

Richard tells about the new hire of a  Chinese colleague at work: Junehua. Today is the office weekly luncheon. Last week it was the best prime rib he had ever eaten at the noon buffet of a local hotel. Today it will be Chinese food in honour of the new colleague.  That that is an employee friendly environment.

I take the feather to talk about yesterday: a phone call day. I was on the receiving end of calls from two occupational therapists, the druggist, the family doctor, and all of them give me jobs to do and some even ask me to report back to them. As well, I have go arrange a ride to see a second doctor and I have a list of questions to ask him. The health care system is my new family,

The wind must be cold for Richard has us turn around before we reach the Children’s Hospital. I don’t notice the chill for I have been talking for so long.

He tells me about Alice and Michael --  how he is tall enough to turn the lights in the bedroom on and off – and he tells me about his in-laws dropping by for supper and bringing a pot of fresh soup. He tells me about a new financial guru that Miranda has listened to on-line who says that most families can save half of what they make if they really put their mind to it.  He wonders if a single-income family can really do that. We talk about ways to save money. I can only think of ways to save nickles and dimes, though I do think about the two computer books I just bought which I could have borrowed from the library.  That would have saved $100.

We arrive back at our front yards, wondering if the garbage pickup has happened so that we can drag our recycling bins back out of the alley.

“There goes the front-yard rabbit,” he says. I think my hearing is going bad. I ask him the name of the rabbit again. “Front-yard rabbit. The front yard rabbit. We have a rabbit living in our front yard.”

He takes me to the spot where the rabbit burrows down for the night. I see a rounded indent in the snow beside the birch tree. The yellow rays from the street light above us make the snow glisten and I can see the rabbit tracks in and out of its nest. The rabbit doesn’t recognize the No Parking sign that is also beside the street light.

“When the rabbit saw us coming, it made haste to the end of the street,” Richard said, pointing to the east, where only he can see the rabbit.  I don't have my glasses on.  I leave them at the back entry, since they would only fog up on me anyway.

I wonder how a city boy has learned so much about where animals live in the city.

Yesterday, I was deeply affected by one of my trips during the day: the one to the podiatrist. Seven people, old people, were sitting on hospital beds, so close to each other that there was no way to get both of their walkers into a space between their beds. The Dr. would sit on a stool, look at the patient’s chart, then their feet, take a few pictures if he needed to, take his tools and work on their feet, then swing himself over to his disinfectant and water, dry his hands, swing himself back to the next patient and down the row he went, never getting off of his stool, only his feet propelling him up and down the isles.

I looked at the old people in a row.  Then I looked at the limbs in a row, sometimes only a half foot, sometimes a nail ripped off, but since there was no feeling left in the foot, the patient was in no pain – just asking that the Dr. take care of the place where taking her sock off had done that damage.

The Dr. stopped at Kelvin for a while, for I had written out my concerns and just handed the paper to him. He wrote out his perscriptions, told Kelvin to come back in two weeks, gave Kelvin advice and sent us on our way.

I knew that the whole event had bothered me more than I let on during the afternoon, for at night I gave myself a long foot massage – the longest of my life.

 I filled every crevice with cream and massaged my feet the way Doral had taught me to give massages.

 My feet were thanking him and me.


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