February 4 – continuedPosted on: February 5, 2013
“Bobby………………, do you have a Ham radio?” I was almost breathless with hope.
“Yeah, but it don’t work, no gas for the generator: it needs electricity to power up.”
“I could get you some gas, if you would let me, us, listen to some real news!” I was feeling some hope, finally. Just then, Jane stepped up behind her husband. She looked awful. I could see how thin she was even thru all the layers of clothes she wore to stay warm; her hair looked matted and dirty. Her movement sent a fresh waft of eye-watering smells my way.
“Gas just to listen?” Bobby was wary.
“How long have you been without the generator?” I didn’t answer his question. “What else does it run?”
“It runs everything, especially the well.” Jane answered from behind. “We ran out of gas around Christmas. Syphoned some from the car, but there wasn’t much there.”
“You’ve had no water for the past six weeks?” I was astounded. “Why didn’t you ask for help, Bobby? We’re right next door!”
“Why would you help us? Besides, we got along; we melted snow,” he answered, “though it does take a long time and it’s a lot of work.”
“Don’t I know it!” John muttered.
“Because we’re neighbors, that’s why!” I would have laughed at John’s comment if this conversation weren’t so frustrating, instead I ignored it. “Look, you got an empty gas can? I’ll get you some gas and another box of food from the pantry. We’ll talk about the Ham Radio when John and I come back.” I tossed the empty can he handed me into the sled and we left.
When we were up on the road and out of earshot, John said, “I don’t know if I can go in that house. The smell…” he just let that trail off.
“I know, but I’ve got a plan.”
Back home, I took the other box of supplies we had split, and added hand soap, shampoo and deodorant from my own supplies. I saw the way John watched. “Don’t worry, if we give it to them this way, they won’t know it didn’t come from the pantry.” He just nodded. “Will you run into town and get that can filled?” I found my wallet with the extra gas ration tickets, pulled out two that were printed with ‘two gallons’ and signed them. “Four gallons for now, and more if this works out.” John just smiled. He says so much when he says nothing. It tells me he trusts what I’m doing. I don’t know if he realizes how much that means to me.
Two hours later we reloaded the sled, with the gas and the other box. Although we didn’t really need our snow shoes for walking the road, we wore them anyway. Bobby’s drive had feet of snow in it; he won’t be driving out until after melt-down.
As we approached the house, I called out again. Bobby opened the door immediately, and once again we were assaulted by the rank odor.
“I wasn’t sure you’d be back,” he confessed.
“Well, we had to get the gas from Fram’s. There’s four gallons here; gas is rationed to two gallon limits.” I set the can in the snow, and then picked up the box. “Here’s more food and supplies. Since it looks like you won’t be driving out for a while, I can get your share when I pick up mine. If you want me to that is.” It’s always good to have a choice. Bobby eyed the gas.
“You want me to fire up the Ham now?”
“No,” I told him. “Why don’t you use the gennie to pump the well. I’m sure you and Jane would love to have a hot shower, get cleaned up, and have something to eat; run the vacuum. We’ll come back tomorrow.” We turned to leave, “Oh, and Bobby? You’re welcome. Neighbors do help each other.”
3 thoughts on “February 4 – continued”
I know how hard it must be for him to ask for help, since he didn’t ask!! I hope they clean themselves up enough so Story Deborah and John can listen to some real news on the HAM radio!! I like the sneaky way she got some soap and deodorant to them, letting them think it came from the food pantry… ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
Pride goeth before the fall. He was probably too proud to go and ask for help; thinking it would get better.