My mother grew up in the shadow of a baseball stadium in Oklahoma City. Her mother’s best friend had a son who went by Buddy. The Babe himself appeared at a game at the ballpark and in those days big league stars were much more accessible to fans than they are today. Buddy idolized the Babe. When he got to meet the Bambino, the bigger-than-life athlete patted him on the head and said, “Hello, Buddy.” Buddy died a few years later from leukemia, but until the day he passed, he was amazed that Babe Ruth knew his name.
Next door to my grandparents lived Beckie. Beckie was a WWI veteran and a registered nurse who had served in a battalion aid station in the Argonne Forest. She had dozens and dozens of cats but cared for them with great attention and devotion. I can see her to this day sitting on her back porch, rocking back and forth in an Adirondack rocker with those cats coming and going.
My grandfather, who loved to fish, would nail his catches to the side of his shop and do his cleaning right there. After a fishing trip, there would be numerous catfish heads tacked to the wall. Needless to say, the cats would come calling. Come to think of it, my grandparents had no issues with mice. I remember his advice, “Don’t mess with the cats. Leave them alone. They have their own thing to do.”
Two blocks down the avenue and one block over lived my Aunt Sophie. She was my grandmother’s sister. I have no idea if she even ever married and don’t remember any male presence around her house. What I do distinctly remember is she had a fireplace mantle and upon that mantle was displayed a Twenty Mule Team model from the Borax-sponsored TV show. She could tat with the best of them and baked the best cookies I have ever tasted.
I remember these people from childhood. They still exist because people think about them. Do you ever wonder what people will recall about you? I want to be remembered for the right reasons.
Richard E. Draper, a double board-certified emergency medicine physician, blogger, and speaker, and practices in the Kaleidoscope Weekly distribution area. The Healer’s Heart is based on his perceptions and observations of his experiences in the ER over his career. Any similarities to actual patients are purely coincidental.