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JUST AN OLD MAN LIKE ME



“What the heck is all that noise outside?” I asked myself as I walked out onto the front porch.

Looking through the hedge I saw him lying in the middle of the cul-de-sac shaking like a leaf. Two teenage boys stood over him, taunting him with a large stick.

Screaming at the top of my voice; I ran off the porch and out into the street. The two boys began running in the opposite direction.

I looked down at the little old man and noticed that he had a large tumor on the back of his neck. He looked as though he was at least ninety years old. What hair he had was shaggy, matted, and stuck to his face. As I spoke, he stood up and began to wonder around in a circle. I continued to speak but he acted as though he could not hear me.

“Are you deaf?” I asked.

There was no response.

“Hello,” I said, as I waived my hands in front of his face.

Again, no response.

“Gee, the old guy must be deaf and blind,” I said to myself.

Carefully I began walking him to my house. It took me almost twenty minutes just to get him to my garage and out of the heat. He immediately sat down on the floor and began breathing at a fast rate. I ran inside to get him a drink of water as it was almost one hundred degrees. When I returned, he drank the water as though he’d had nothing to drink all day. I continued to talk to him but he acted as though I was not there. I stood looking at him as he tried to cool himself on the cement floor.

I turned around when I heard my wife drive up. I walked over and told her what had happened. Slowly she walked to the garage door and looked inside.

“Oh my God! What happened to him?” She asked.

I think he is blind and deaf,” I told her

She ran over and began to talk to him. I was surprised when he responded to her voice. He seemed to come alive when hearing a female voice.

We took him into the house where it was cool and sat him on the couch. We checked but he had no identification on him. We began calling around the neighborhood to see if anyone knew where he belonged. No one had ever seen him before. We called the police but they did not seem interested. Within several hours we had him at the doctors’ office where he was examined. Just as I thought, he was blind and almost deaf. The doctor thought he was as least 90, maybe more. The doctor said the tumor could not be removed as he was much too old to have surgery.

Not knowing what to do; we took him home, gave him something to eat, and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. All night long he wondered around the house, constantly bumping into the walls and doors. For the next five days we searched for his family, but no one ever reported him missing. He ate very little and he slept nearly twenty hours a day. When awake he was dazed, scared, and constantly confused. I did my best to try and rid him of those feelings. As I shaved; I looked at my wrinkled face, balding head, and the large brown spots all over my arms. I wondered if someday someone would once again discard me -- just as my parents had when I was a child.

Later that day a woman telephoned and wanted to know if we had located his family. We told her that no one had come to see about him. She had heard about him from one of her neighbors. She asked if she could come and see him. When she arrived, we walked inside where he was laying on the couch. She reached down and gently stroked his hair; then she knelt down and hugged him.

She told us that she had started an organization where forgotten old men could live in peace. It was a nice place where they would not be abused or mistreated. After checking her out on the internet, we watched as she sat him in her car and they drove away.

That was the first time in my life that I had ever held an old man who only weighed three pounds. Actually it was the first time I had ever seen a Yorkshire Terrier with a tumor like the one I carry in my heart.



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