The old guy hauled his right leg into the cabin of the car and waited for us to join him.
When you are aboriginal, you can buy a new or used car at a car lot, and the dealer hires a driver to bring you to the nearest Indian Reserve so that you can sign the papers there, and save taxes. It is a wonderful system despite the long drive (ten hours Plus) to the reserve. My sister had just bought a used Toyota, and since she hates highway driving, she asked me to come along and drive back. We left at 5:15 a.m. I was dead tired.
On a ten hour drive, you get to know your driver. Bob was his name, and from the time we left to the time we got back, he was as pleasant and polite as anyone I know.
Bob told us that he once worked at a local paper mill, but after 35 years of being a company man, they retired him. He said that he was turning 60 in a few weeks and that he never had a family, and never married.
Bob said that he came close once, even had a bride waiting at the alter. All the guests were in the church, the music was hired out, as was the club for the reception. He went on to say that once he reached the parking lot of the church, he got the jitters and left, standing up the woman he planned to marry and leaving everyone confused. He went on to say that it was the biggest mistake of his life.
He said that the woman did marry. She met a guy, they had a kid, and in a little while, the guy left her to raise a sixteen year old daughter on her own. I told him that perhaps this wasn’t meant to be, and he agreed, but he still had regrets.
Bob went on to say that when he turned 55, he was diagnosed with diabetes. He didn’t listen to a word his doctor said, and just two years afterward, he ended up losing half his leg below the knee. he now uses a wooden leg. He said that in the 14 weeks it took him to recover from the effects of a diabetic coma and losing his leg, he gained a new lease on life. He now speaks at hospitals and schools on the dangers of diabetes, often showing his audience what remained of his leg. He also has trouble with one of his eyes, another result of the effects of diabetes.
He said that once he left the hospital, he regained all the weight he lost in the hospital. He said that losing a leg, he found working out almost impossible, as well as very painful.
All in all, Bob was a very nice man who seems to be entering his old age with a lifetime of regret. I assured him not to quit, explaining that I was 40 before I met my lady. He said that maybe there is hope for him yet. I sure hope so.
It is funny how an otherwise long and boring ten hour ride can turn out to fly past when you are in good company. We had an enjoyable day, and got to meet a nice person.