A Good Friend Indeed!By Carroll Lisle
It was, perhaps, a dozen years ago that I first encountered Mr. Kane, upright, dependable, capable, and good to have at beck and call. Companionably, we walked side by side. Though he was shorter than I am, I didn’t object to that. We saw each other daily for a time and, then, some associations ago, I had other interests, including a move to Sunnyside.
At Sunnyside I continued my interest in gardening, but necessarily I had to dig the flowerbed on a slope. Maintaining that bed necessitated good balance and, as time passed, I recognized I needed my old friend, Mr. Kane, for a malfunctioning hip and lower back pain or I’d have to relinquish gardening. And lo! I found him in a closet.
Out to the garden we went, where I found he not only helped me to circumnavigate it, but I could use the handle to pull stalks toward me for clipping or could use the rod to lift spent daffodil foliage to enable pulling out or to lean iris foliage toward me for snipping into a fan shape.
Walnut trees higher on the hillside drop their round green balls that roll into my floral bed, and it’s Mr. Kane who ejects them. An overhanging redbud tree’s leaves weigh down twigs and branches so that the limited sunshine can barely penetrate to plants below. It’s Mr. Kane who snags the branches to lower them to snipping level.
I find the cane helpful in shopping expeditions. I can get a head start at the elevator button by using its end to press for service. If there’s an electric eye door to activate, waving the cane ahead of me opens the door before my actual arrival. At a grocery store with items above my head and reach I can urge them forward on the shelf with the cane, or if the cat food is in the rearmost part of the shelf, I can pull forward the few cans lurking in the shadowy back. Should I go to the ladies’ room there, Mr. Kane shoves the used paper towels that rise loosely in the trash container back into the plastic bag so that there’s room for a great many more spent towels. My car has a hatchback trunk closure. How wonderful that Mr. Kane can reach the open lid and pull it far enough for me to grasp it to close behind my purchases.
At home Mr. Kane is helpful with the housework. I can engage a spider web from a corner. I can wipe up spills from the floors by shoving a wadded paper towel over it or clean up a dirty spot by rubbing a damp rag over the area or lightly gather crumbs by using a Kleenex shoved by Mr. Kane’s foot.
I even found the cane helpful in dressing. Getting trousers on is slow and frustrating. I found that if I could get one leg clad, then by inserting the cane in the other leg to hold open the aperture. I could – eventually – get my foot into the opening.
Although I may very well have hip replacement surgery, I recognize that the chances of my being independent of Mr. Kane are slender. All the same, I am grateful for his helpful companionship.