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Clyde Chatfield Receives Graduation Diploma 2000

Do You Need Help? Are You OK?

By LeRoy Chatfield

Do you need help?  Are you OK?

No, I’m fine. Thank you.

Are you sure?

Yes, thank you, I’m sure.

With that, she drove off.

It was toward the end of my usual route – a three-mile walk that takes me through William Land Park and back through the neighborhood  streets to home – when I ran out of gas. This has happened before, but not very often. In times past, I would find a place to sit, catch my breath, talk  with Clyde until my strength returned, and then tool on home. Or if we were close enough to Larry’s Gas Mart,  I would buy a small Pepsi and a small bag of Cheetos, which I would split with Clyde.  But today I am alone.  After 10 years of faithful companionship, Clyde is gone for good, and I am feeling the pain of  his loss. I am also feeling my age of  76-years and likely feeling a bit sorry for myself.

There was no convenient place to sit, so I leaned against a fence. The Toyota Prius was idling in the driveway next door. Several minutes passed before the car slowly backed out and stopped next to me. The young woman – Hmong, I think, and with a small child in a car seat behind her – rolled down the passenger window and asked after me. How nice of her, I thought. Would I have done that?  I hoped so.

But the reality was obvious: I was elderly, I probably looked confused and unsure of myself, and I was standing alone on a sidewalk going nowhere.  What else could she have thought?  I needed help!

Alas, the help I need is not available. Clyde will not return, nor will the energy of my youth. Leaning against this fence, catching my breath, resting a bit, will have to suffice.  Tomorrow will be better.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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