Mike just walked by. He has a fistful of Christmas cards. I’m washing lunch dishes, looked up, and saw him. He nods. I guess we’re not on his Christmas card list this year.
Actually, we never were.
Give one to get one, I can hear my mother say.
She had all sorts of wisdom packed into phrases, that when you’re a kid, would really grind your gristle. She used this same phrase when I punched Billy in the nose for calling me skinny. Billy punched me back. That was 2nd grade. I don’t think I’ve punched anyone since. I doubt that I have the strength to punch anything nowadays, except bread dough.
Use it or lose it, Mum would’ve said.
Anyway, Mike’s walking with a stick lately. I think he’s heading up the hill toward Roy’s house. It’s slow going, like his legs aren’t meant for walking anymore. Roy is a retired pilot. He and Roy used to go fishing together. They teased each other without mercy about everything, but Roy let up after Mike had that scabby patch of skin on his head removed. Skin cancer it was. It was like Mike’s cancer changed their whole relationship. They were out of synch. Their gait changed. They haven’t gone fishing in many years now. But Mike will still walk a hill for Roy.