The crustacean’s pinch

Friday evening was spent around the pinochle table; the cards had all been played by the time I arrived. Ron, pushed back from the table, had become the center of attention. He had a thin trickle of hose leading from a swollen stomach to a large syringe filled with brown goop, which he peevishly held aloft, to the commentary of the surrounding family. “It’s dinnertime,” they said, chortling. “he’s eating healthier now than he ever dreamed of.”

When tragedy strikes, it brings moments of humor with all the rest. Ron never seemed unwilling to take a joke, because he was so obstinate in making his own. Incapacitation has not taken away his personality… he winks at me in welcome … which makes the cancer, that all-involving all-invasive presence, in some ways, less real.

In some ways. In minute ways. And yet, in perhaps the only way that matters. All that one is in life might be summed up in the way one takes a joke and welcomes a person in from the cold.

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