RAMs and ROMs: real events and divine contents

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Apr '07

to eleanor

reel back to first day at asc
at walters dorm #311, in walked my roommate to be
from worlds apart we now entered the same
to school our minds, our thinking to tame

she left agnes scott to land of scots
i sojourned to places of various sorts
over the years different things we sought
lo and behold we now find ourselves in sf bay spot

what provoked the above memory?
well, a cab ride email entered my ramrom sanctuary
which beckoned strains of eleanor-sinatra grand jury

u make me feel so young
u make me feel like spring has sprung
u make me feel there are songs to be sung
bells to be rung, and a wonderful story below to be flung

20 years ago, he drove a cab for a living
responding to a call, he arrived at 2:30 a.m. at the building
it was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window
hmm, maybe go to that door, his instinct to follow
passenger might be someone who needs his assistance
so knock on the door to find out this instance

“just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice
he heard a “something being dragged across the floor” noise
after a long pause, the door opened slim
a small woman in her 80’s stood before him
she was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it
by her side a small nylon suitcase, like somebody out of a 1940s movie hit

the apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years
all the furniture was covered with sheets likely from sears
there were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters
he noted though, a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware in one of the corners

“would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said
he took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to the woman to aid
she took his arm and they walked slowly toward the curb
“thank you” many times, she blurbed
“it’s nothing”, he told her, time for golden rule to be repeated
“i just try to treat my passengers the way i would want my mother treated”
“oh, you’re such a good boy”, she complimented

they got into the cab and she gave him the destination address
adding “could you drive through downtown, though it’s not the shortest way,” she confessed
“i’m on my way to a hospice but in no hurry”
not a problem for the cab driver this favor to curry

he looked in the rear-view mirror and her eyes glistened back
“i don’t have any family left,” she continued her story deck
“the doctor says i don’t have very long”
he knew it’s time to shut off the meter gong

they drove through the city some 2 hours solid
taking them to places of her golden past, she recanted a farewell bid
“there’s the building where i once worked as an elevator operator” she gasped
drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds

pulled up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom
where she had gone dancing as a girl, her mind excitedly boomed
slowing down to front of a particular building or corner, they would sit staring into darkness gloom

as the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said
“i’m tired, let’s go now” enough of reminiscing laid

they drove in silence to the address she gave
it was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway paved
two orderlies came out as soon as the cab pulled up
they were solicitous and intent, watching her every move, like a pup
he opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door
the woman already seated in a wheelchair, “how much do I owe you?” she implored
“nothing,” he said, his emotions explored

“you have to make a living,” she responded
“there are other passengers,” he bonded
almost without thinking, he bent and gave her a hug
“you gave an old woman a little moment of joy, thank you” she tugged
he squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light
behind him, a door shut and he knew the plight
it was the sound of the closing of a life, after the reminiscence delight

he didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift
driving aimlessly, lost in thought, deep insight rift

for the rest of that day, he could hardly talk
what if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient, the lady to balk
what if he had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
on a quick review, he thought he had not done anything more important in his life than that day

we’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments won
however, often times there are great moments beautifully-wrapped in a small one
people may not remember exactly what you did or what you said
they will always remember how you made them feel instead
echoing gord mclean’s wisdom on handling people under your stead

u make me feel so young
u make me feel like spring has sprung
and even when i’m old and gray
i’m gonna feel the way i do today
’cause u make me feel so young

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