Ode To My Scrap Metal Man

Vern is my “go to” guy when I need scrap metal picked up.

Vern  is one of the people in my life I may only  talk to once or twice a year but I always enjoy bantering with him.

He’s been a farmer his whole life. His hands are gnarled stumps. Don’t know how else to describe them.

He told me before he was  married,he and his older brother would head to the big city on the weekend to look for some excitement.

Excitement = booze and girls.

One particular weekend, the two of them got into a fight with several of the local boys who didn’t appreciate them dancing with the local girls.

Eight on two.

Things were not looking too good, until some guy named Jimmy, home on leave. (whom they didn’t know ) jumped in to help. Suddenly it was eight on three, and the tide turned.  Vern still tells that story with a gleam in his eye.

But arthritis, age and cancer have taken a toll on his body.  His boys run the farm now and while he keeps busy, he is no longer needed in the same ways.

Five weeks ago, Vern was in a bad truck accident.

You know it’s serious when they call in the  helicopter to  get you to the hospital.

Rescue workers carry a person injured during an aircraft crash landing, to a waiting helicopter ambulance in Fisksjo park in central Stockholm, Sweden, April 12, 2007. Four people onboard the Piper PA 28 private aircraft were injured when the plane crashed into a tree in Fisksjo park  while attempting an emergency landing after encountering engine trouble. A large rescue crew was in place minutes after the crash landing due to an emergency drill nearby. REUTERS/Jonas Ekstromer/Scanpix (SWEDEN)         SWEDEN OUT    NORWAY OUT    DENMARK OUT    NO THIRD PARTY SALES - RTR1OK81

I’ve been keeping tabs on Vern via my brother who is friends of the family.

Three weeks ago, Vern took a turn for the worst.

He quit eating. He  was  sleeping all the time, had no feeling in his feet, had a broken pelvis, and  a cracked vertebrae in his neck.

Then last weekend, I heard he was starting to improve so I texted his son to see if he was able to have visitors.

“He’d like that!”

So this past Monday  after lunch wife and I headed to the big city to track Vern down.

6th floor, Room 603.

We found his room without too much problem, except that there was nobody in it.

A young nurse was  coming down the hall and noticed me sticking my head in his room.

“I just met him heading down to the exercise room, would you like me to take you there?”

“You bet!”

Nurse and I compared notes on Vern as we walked.

She got a kick out of him.   Quite the Vern.

Sounded like he was starting to get his feisty attitude back 🙂

Came the exercise room and there he was, sitting in a wheel chair in a tee-shirt and shorts.  A physical therapist was just about ready to do some exercises with him and another patient named Ralph.

We asked if it would be OK just to hang out for a few minutes.

Not a problem.

About five minutes into the routine the therapist got out a squishy rubber ball. Next thing you know, the five of us were playing catch 🙂
It was the perfect way to spend 15 minutes with Vern, just to let him know I was thinking about him.

Vern thanked me a couple of times for stopping.

Told me to stop by his room before I left and help myself to the home-made cookies. (I did)

I left a copy of a Countryside and Small Farm Journal with him from 2010.  Told him there was a short article in it that I had written.  Therapist was impressed she was taking with a published author.

 Yea right. 🙂

I tried to tell her, this particular magazine will print just about anyone who submits an article if it ties into the theme they are working on.

Tell me about one of the favorite people in your life, you may only see once in a while.  What makes them special? DM


21 thoughts on “Ode To My Scrap Metal Man

  1. Vern is fortunate to have friends like you DM. Your story convicts me that I need to be more mindful of visiting friends, especially when they’re in situations likely to cause loneliness. On a less serious note, it also reminds me of how much I used to enjoy the Countryside and Small Farm Journal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When someone we care about is unwell or hurting, we often feel helpless –but you took action and, just by being there, showed you cared. Gestures like that mean so much and, to me, are the sign of a real true friend. Nicely done, DM!

    As to your question about ~ other than family the person who comes to mind is our elderly neighbor. She’s widowed, don’t see her a lot, but when she’s out in the yard that’s my sign to come out and chat with her. And I do. 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The first thing that struck me is that Vern was my dad’s name. It doesn’t seem to be all that common — at least, I don’t hear it down here, so it was nice to come across it again.

    It’s so simple to visit someone who’s either been hospitalized with injury, or who has had to make new living arrangements because of increasing age — but it’s even easier not to think about doing so. We forget not because we’re nasty people, but simply because life is what it is. We get involved in other things, we make resolutions, we forget — until it’s 3 a.m. and we think, “Oh. I meant to….”

    I think I know one or two people who sometimes have bad intentions, but most of us don’t. What we need to remember is that intentions don’t bring those smiles, or a sense of being remembered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda, reading your comment brought another person to my mind I need to track down again..Her name is Helen. She was transferred to another care facility this winter another 30 minutes further from us..thanks for the gentle nudge 😉 DM


  4. It meant a lot to me to read this. I never know what goes on in the minds of visitors here at the hospital. Most look so uncomfortable, some, so disconnected – like they are visiting out of social obligation.

    I have a friend from up north. Her mom and mine went to junior college together. We talk on the phone about every four to five months. It flows so easy you’d think we just saw each other days ago!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well that would be my friend I just saw in California. We only see each other every few years but when we’re together, the conversation picks up as if it had never stopped. It flows. I love her friendship. I feel the same about you and your lovely wife too. I’m grateful for this crazy internet that brought us together.

    Liked by 1 person

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