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The Old Man and His Carer

In the coffee shop on Wickham Terrace,

Couples and individuals chatted,

Tables spread apart for social distancing,

I sat writing in my journal reviewing the last few weeks,

Before attending my appointment,

Engrossed in the task for quite some time I finally finished.

I shut the Journal and the old man on the adjacent table looked my way,

Politely he inquired,

“What are you writing, if you don’t mind me asking?”

That began the conversation the three of us so enjoyed.

Tom had come over from Rosewood,

To have his eyes lasered,

He resides at an aged care facility there,

The lovely younger woman brought him to the city,

They respected one another and were comfortable in each other’s company,

Introductions were exchanged and identities divulged,

Tom had been in the merchant navy until he was thirty and travelled the world,

He then settled in Ipswich and managed a cake shop in Nicholas Street,

When he comes to River Link, people sometimes recognise him with delight,

He sold many cakes for weddings and said the largest one he ever made had 23 tiers,

It served as desert for over eight hundred people.

He was interested to know what I had done in my life,

I shared that I was a Primary School Principal and had retired,

He responded that his daughter is a Principal in Stamford,

He was enormously proud of her!

He was thin, and short like me and wore glasses that really suited him,

He reminded me of my 100-year-old uncle,

Like my uncle he was also deaf and wore hearing aids,

His hair was short, grey, and thin,

The lines on his face were subtle and his eyes bright and alert,

He presented as a wise, compassionate man who genuinely loved people,

When it was time for me to go to my appointment,

Tom stood up and shook my hand and offered me his business card,

He had not mentioned anything about God,

Obviously, Tom is God’s man.

On the reverse side was printed John 3:16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” NIV

Neil P. Schiller Wednesday 17 March 2021

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