The Second One

Since august 2016 has passed and I am still alive, I am now older than my father was when he passed away.


Like my father would, I try to answer with a story

Jonathan Klassen, (not his right name)

I met Jonathan at the fish and chip place where you can find him every Wednesday- evening at 5pm with some of his relatives, eating the more expensive halibut, because it's not as fishy tasting as the cheaper cod, he tells me.

Jonathan is five weeks shy of 100 years old. He does not use a walker or a cane when he is on the move, and his pace is more like a jog than a walk since he is always in a hurry. Every day he drives his wife on a wheel- bed from the hospital to his room to entertain her. A bad fall broke her hip which could not be repaired because her bones were too brittle. Mrs Klassen, who is mentally as good as anybody, is 97.

Jonathan - “My father, who lived in the Ukraine, refused to go into the Russian army, because he was a conscientious objector, so they send him as far away as they could in the bush in northern Siberia. My mother found a shed about a mile away from where my father was put to work. I was born with the help of a neighbor's wife acting as a wet-nurse in that shed because there were no doctors or hospitals. I could not breath very good they tell me, actually I was a weakling. The wet-nurse said to my mother 'I don't know if we can keep this one alive, but I will stay with you as long as it takes,' he smiles weakly. She stayed a month with my mother to keep me alive.

Now I take care of my wife, I walk her from the hospital uphill, to my room every day. It's getting more difficult every day, but she is a good wife, I enjoyed her, for more years than many others. I enjoyed life very much, still do. You do what you can - as long as you can,” he smiles.“O, my goodness, it's time to get my wife, the church starts at 2 o'clock.” He breaks into a trot, without cane or walker to take his wife to church.



a very short but important story by Fertile (Lex) Smid

In between my front window and the hospital across the street is a bus stop located equipped with a comfortable bench under a glass roof for the convenience of bus travelers. There is most of the time seating available since the traffic to and from the hospital and our old folks home is a lot less than that of a department store or a restaurant. And even though I live on the second floor of my apartment my living room floor and the street are on the same level, because the road makes a one story deep dip eastward, which results that the living room floor of the first story at the east end of our building is also at the level of the street.

The foregoing has little or nothing to do with the story of which I have a hard time to find a beginning with, other than that the reader considers pleasing me with a visit, in which case you are heartily welcome. I haven't even begun to tell you that this story is about an attractive young woman sitting on a bench, waiting impatiently for a city bus to come by. The bus didn't come, but I did.

When I, behind my walker, arrived at the bus stop I noticed two things, one – that the young woman sitting on the bench was very beautiful, and two – she was jumpy, nervously looking eastward for, what I guessed, was the city bus. Which bus did not show up, no matter how far she stretched her neck to the east. I greet everybody, including beautiful women. She glanced me over and then I saw a third thing – a pair of eyes so beautiful I had ever seen before. Jumpily turning to the east again she said in a voice sounding of silver bells

“You have arthritis.” I was flabbergasted, how did she know? But there was more to come.

“You don't have to have arthritis,” her voice still pealing, while twitching her head hunting for the bus again.

“Drink a gallon of water every day and your arthritis will be a thing of the past.” The musical melody of her voice was definitely comforting. Then the bus arrived, she lightly jumped into it and out of my life for all I know, leaving me behind, alone with my painful rheumatoid arthritis.

Her advise to drink water I found too easy to even try, but after some serious pain I gave it a try. Not a whole gallon, but a few cups. I have not drank a full gallon a day of the cheap drink yet but made a start anyways and you know? the pain has gone enough that I can sleep.




Jonathan of the story SO WHAT NOW? and THE BEAUTIFUL WOMAN AT THE BUSS STOP together furnaced the answer to the question So what now? Not only to do what I can as long as I can, but together with that – listen to everyone so that I may learn as long as I can.

Father, I think I got it. Now if I could only outsmart that computer.

That is the lesson for me today, and for the future, as long as I will be given – to do what I can as long as I can.