By Jo Manning
“Help me, please!”
The darkness was gathering on this winter afternoon. I didn’t intend to be so late, but my errands had taken longer than usual. So, there I was, out on the street leaning shakily on my walker with one hand, waving a twenty with my left, and very, very, tired. ‘Help me, please” was getting me nowhere. “Gosh darn,” I said, or worse, as the cars sped by. Do they even see me, a little woman so old and frail, invisible even with a Twenty in hand? After all, at 95 I am becoming used to being invisible.
I had been there, standing or sitting on my walker for almost an hour, finally waving my twenty when there was no action. It was nearing supper time in the warm senior’s residence where I live only a few blocks away, but it could be on the moon — I felt there was no way of getting there except to rely on the kindness of strangers, or perhaps to collapse and be taken to a nice warm hospital.
The senior’s centre where I stood seemed a good spot to wait for a cab when I first called on my cell-phone, but no cab came. I called again, “A cab is on its way”. Another time, “You aren’t there” they said. Hmm, I’m right, I am invisible.
Tired, cold and hungry, I was in despair when a woman ran through the traffic from across the street. “Do you need help?” this angel asked. She hailed a cab that was rushing by. I offered her the twenty but no, she was so happy to help and I was so happy she did, and the cabbie was so happy he could help, there was happiness all around as he took me to the door of my Retirement Home.
When I told this to my son who had spent some experimental years as a Hippie. “Yeah, Ma, when you’re on the road, and it’s getting dark and you are wet and miserable and hungry, and just when you think you’re going to fade into oblivion, someone stops and says, ‘Hop in son’, and takes you home to a safe haven with a shower and a warm bed for the night. Who are these ones? They are members of the ‘Johnston family' and they are legion. Have faith”.
This kind woman was a ‘Johnston.’