Harry was asleep most times I visited him at Parkridge. His roommate, Ed, would greet me at the door, hands deftly working the wheels on his chair. “He’s sleeping,” he’d report , then turn and head toward the nurse’s station. I’d hear him yelling, “I’m hungry! Is anyone gonna get me some dinner!?” Harry looked up, grinning, “He’s always like that. Grumpy guy.” So unlike Ed, Harry greeted his guests with a smile and a handshake, every time. Old school
Harry liked my turkey but he LOVED the pie (which I did not have the heart to tell him was store-bought) and was satisfied only after I set a second helping on his bedside table. “I’ll have myself a little treat when I watch my shows tonight.” After wiping a tiny bit of crust from Harry’s lower lip, I held the straw to his mouth. He sipped every last drop from that milk carton.
Harry was always talkative after dinner. I had about a 20-minute window to either give him an update on my life with my grandkids or to hear the story of his cross-county road-trip from Ypsilanti, Michigan all the way west to Santa Monica, California on his ‘67 Yamaha Trailmaster. Barb, hanging on for dear life, was his trusty travel companion up until San Bernadino where she left him and his bike and hitched a ride to the Greyhound Bus Station. Harry said the bike just gave out. And so did Barb.