We had been sitting in the doctor's waiting room forty-five minutes (having arrived the standard five minutes ahead of the appointment)* when BBBH said, "That's it. I'm leaving." Now I've seen her pull this on previous occasions. Her patience with the doctor's scheduling practices is limited.
"Why did you make this appointment?" I asked. She rehearsed the litany of complaints, which I already knew, but reiterated that this kind of wait was ridiculous. I was able to calm her sufficiently to keep her there the additional ten minutes it required before the attendant opened the door and called her name.
Now she is cloistered in the exam room, and heaven alone knows how long I will continue to wait. And I am cold. And I have been cold for an hour. So I decided to step outside for some soothing sunshine. As I near the exit, I pass a couple who are also waiting. Guessing ages is difficult, but it is clear that these people have both reached the portals, or have passed through the gates, of "The Golden Age." The lady is smartly dressed, as though she might have another appointment after this one, in a place somewhat more elegant. Her hair is that blondish-white that is reflective of the years, and she wears it just a bit longer than do many women of a certain age. It curls softly to her shoulders.
The gentleman has on an orange and white horizontally striped polo shirt. His hair is very short, quite curly, and white as the proverbial snow. He is seated in a wheelchair. He is strapped into his conveyance.
I stop beside his chair, look at the woman, and say, "Did I hear you say you live in Swayzee?" Which of course I had heard when they arrived a half-hour earlier.
"Yes, we do. Except for several years we spent in Utah, we have lived there all our lives." She described the exact location of their home, and I could picture it in my mind's eye, for I have been up and down that road many, many times over the years.
"I lived in Converse many years ago," I said. "I worked in Greentown."
"What did you do there?" he asked.
"I was a teacher."
"Oh," she asked by the tone of her voice, "then you knew Dorothy H?"
"Well, no. I think not. Perhaps she went there after I left. I moved from there in '69."
"Yes, perhaps she came later. Let's see. My oldest started school there in 1972."
"Indeed that would have been after my time there."
"The mister hunts coyotes. Even though his Parkinson's causes him much grief, our grandson, who is six-four and weighs about 240, takes his Grandpa out with the dogs." He gets the hides cured, you know, over at. . . " and here she named a well-known taxidermist. She had pronounced the name of the prey as I do, ky-oats.
Here the old fellow spoke up, eyes alight with memories of his younger day. "My passion when I was younger was breaking horses. Could have stayed in Utah forever!"
And he and I had found common ground, for though horses are not my thing, they are definitely the thing of my eldest stepson. For him, life has its meaning in horses, and thus our conversation had direction until the nurse opened the door and called the next patient.