Day 342: Strangers

“If you’re offered hand is still open to me”

Strangers have helped me and they helped me so many times. Strangers have been generous so many times.

When Miles was young, maybe six years old, we were watching a parade in Morgantown. Morgantown has lots of parades. Miles and I would take walks and stumble upon a parade for some event– a high school homecoming, a football playoff game, a holiday celebration, or maybe the county fair’s re-opening. It was dusk in fall. We did our usual routine of a walk and some pizza at Casa d’Amici, our favorite in town. We stood outside with our big slices, watching the fire trucks go by with the lights flashing and their horns blaring. Miles started to choke. He could not breath for a few seconds. I yelled to the firetruck going by right in front of us. They did not respond. They did not hear me. They did not know what I wanted. The noise of the trucks and horns was too loud. As I yelled and waved my hands for the truck and tried to get their attention, panicking, a woman stepped from the curb. She had been standing next to us in front of the pizza shop watching the parade next to us. She walked up behind Miles and performed the Heimlich maneuver. He spat out the pizza and breathed. He was Ok. He was safe. He could breath. I was so grateful for this stranger. She saved Miles’s life.

When Miles died, people came to our house. We lay stunned on the couch or in bed or sat at the table and cried, unable to do anything. We did not know what to do. Our friends and people we worked with and people in our neighborhood attended to us. Strangers came to us and held our hands. They washed out dishes and did our laundry. They fed the dog. They made our beds. They prayed for us. They fed us and made us drink water. People came in and out, friends and strangers, and helped us.

I hope to some people I have been a generous stranger.

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Day 171: Waterloo Sunset

Where would I start with telling someone about the Kinks? I think I would start with “Waterloo Sunset.” One of the best experiences of Miles’s life was when he and Kali went to England for a school trip for a week. They went to London and Paris. In all the pictures, Miles is beaming. He was so happy. He even skated in Paris. He wanted to go back so much ad I regret that he never did. Maybe he went to Waterloo Station. 

Day 170: Strangers

I will resist going on a Kinks binge, but some of their song are so good. I never listened much to the Kinks until recently. I missed out so much on great music for so many years. Miles connected me to so much good music, as did my friends in Morgantown. The Internet certainly helped. Miles was able to discover so much at his fingertips. He found so much, and we found so much together. We shared so much. I loved hearing new music, especially the music he shared with me. I hope he was able to hear the Kinks for how good they are.

Day 169: Do You Remember Walter?

The best songs by the Kinks are as good as the best songs by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. I love “Do You Remember Walter?” It is one of the many gems by this great band. They are not as good as other bands, but their best is as good as the best by anybody else. This is just a simple little rock song but it says so much.

“Walter, remember when the world was young
And all the girls knew Walter’s name?
Walter, isn’t it a shame the way our little world has changed?
Do you remember, Walter, playing cricket in the thunder and the rain?
Do you remember, Walter, smoking cigarettes behind your garden gate?
Yes, Walter was my mate,
But Walter, my old friend, where are you now?

Walter’s name.
Walter, isn’t it a shame the way our little world has changed?
Do you remember, Walter, how we said we’d fight the world so we’d be free.
We’d save up all our money and we’d buy a boat and sail away to sea.
But it was not to be.
I knew you then but do I know you now?

Walter, you are just an echo of a world I knew so long ago
If you saw me now you wouldn’t even know my name.
I bet you’re fat and married and you’re always home in bed by half-past eight.
And if I talked about the old times you’d get bored and you’ll have nothing more to say.
Yes people often change, but memories of people can remain.”