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Man Down

January 26, 2013

Patty is my neighbor who helps me with my children. Four of the last seven days she has had the children in various numbers, sick ones and well ones, helping me juggle doctors appointments and errands. She also helps me with fresh flowers from her yard, tomatoes and herbs from her garden, and endless little treats which I find very cheering.

For several months, my favorite mornings have been Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, because at 7:30 a.m. I got to run away to my neighbor Patty’s to help her get her husband Ray, who was suffereing from Parkinson’s, out of bed and through his morning routine.  Although I only had half an hour, there was time for a cup of coffee before I had to go home to face the music.  While we were in Birmingham, we lost Ray.

(I was tempted not to tell Dan and keep disappearing at 7:30 three mornings a week to “help with Ray”, but I think he would’ve gotten suspicious eventually.  So, I told him.)

Towards the end, when Ray fell, Patty would call George and say, “Man Down”, and George would head down the block to scoop him up. When I got the news that Ray was dying, I called George to take some flowers down to Patty, who opened the door and said simply, “Man Down, George.”

In sickness (as I’ve learned he did in health) Ray brought our little neighborhood together, allowing us to come together and pitch in with his care.  I don’t know what our block will revolve around now that Ray is gone.

When we got back in town, Patty brough me Paperwhite bulbs, in memory of Ray.  They are blooming in my kitchen window, turning a brave face to the ice and snow outside, promising spring.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Grammie permalink
    January 26, 2013 9:29 pm

    What a beautiful, bittersweet story. Those paperwhites, to me, are a celebration of Ray’s life.

  2. January 26, 2013 9:44 pm

    Lucy, this is lovely —

  3. Beth Saav permalink
    January 26, 2013 10:34 pm

    You have such a beautiful family. And community. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Judy Zier permalink
    January 28, 2013 7:19 pm

    Lucy, you are an artist with words and such a dear joy to Patty! She tells me stories nonstop of the loving fun she has w/ you and the children! You are all such a gift to her, as she is to you! Celebrate the hopes of spring and keep enjoying your time together with my wonderful sister, Patty! XX Judy from Indiana

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