Wednesday, October 21
There And Back
It has seemed really strange picking up the one- half left of an elderly couple who have been regular fares for a good few years now. When the lady was alive up till a month or two ago it was her who did all the talking, simply because the ould chap was very deaf and it was hard to have a conversation with both being in the back seats of the taxi. The first time that I picked him up when he was alone I made sure that he rode up front with me so that we could have a proper conversation.
It was a seven-mile trip and so after offering condolences for his loss I started to ask him about his life and times past. It wasn't easy with me having to talk really loud and repeat myself a few times but wow it sure was worth the effort. Amongst other things, he told me the story of him being posted to Japan within months of the Japenese surrender. He shivered as he told me about the horrors he saw when passing through Hiroshima on the way to his first posting. Then he broke into a smile as he told me how he was the butt of a practical joke by his sergeant within the first week of his duties of transporting military vehicles between bases. The sergeant made him memorize a phrase in Japanise, which remarkably he could still clearly recite, this was to be used when he was stopped by the Japenese military police. Laughing he said it seemed to work every time, but he found out later the reason they looked at him so confused was because he was actually saying in Japenese "There and back to see how far it is."
I have had a good talk with him on the few times that I have picked him up since but couldn't help but notice the deterioration in him lately, he really is struggling. Today he was telling me about his health problems and then he told me how his doctors had given him a list of his ailments that he had to have on display prominently at home in case he collapsed. I was left struggling for adequate words when he went on to calmly ask me what Alzheimer's meant because that was one of the ailments on his list.