One of John’s Stories


I have a dear friend from Queens named John. He’s lived a life that warrants its own book.  I’ve told him many times to sit down and write it. Unfortunately he’s been too busy taking care of family matters and his health to do so. So when he told me this story the other day, I decided that not only did it warrant its own retelling but it would provide a good opportunity to begin to record his many stories and interactions with people.

My Mom had a friend who would always come around the flower shop during our busy times. She would always help out by setting up a sidewalk stand to help sell the holiday stuff to keep the store from getting too crowded. At lunch she would go in and make my Mom and me and my five brothers pasta with a wonderful sauce.
Now she’s over 80 and is in a nursing home on Queens Boulevard. Last week was her birthday. I made a beautiful bouquet and brought it over to her. Naturally there was no parking so I double parked and ran in. I gave the flowers to a large sized orderly who looked the flowers over and asked what would happen if he didn’t get the flowers to my Mom’s friend and kept them for himself. I told him that when I stopped in next week and she didn’t thank me for the flowers, I would personally come up to him and hurt him.
On the way back to the elevator and to my double parked car, I passed a little old man sitting in the hall. He was hunched over and looked up as I passed. I looked at him and said hello.
I went to the elevator and looked back at him. He was still looking up at me and signaled me to come back over to him. I walked back to him and he asked me to pull up a chair, which I did.
‘You know I don’t have any family. No sons, no daughters. If I had any kids, I would tell them just one thing that I’ve learned from life. Do you want to hear it?’
I naturally said of course and pulled my chair closer to the man.
He did his best to straighten in his seat and looked directly at me, “If you love life, it will love you back.”
We talked for a little while longer and then I saw that he was getting tired so I moved my chair back. As I stood up I asked him if he knew my Mom’s friend. He replied that he had and in fact ‘had a thing for younger women.’
“It’s her birthday today. If you see her say Happy Birthday, she’d appreciate it.”
He looked at me and smiled. “I’ll do that young man.”
As I went to the elevator, the orderly who I had left the flowers with came over to me.
“What’d you say to that old guy?”
“Why?” I asked.
“Man that guy don’t talk to anyone. I’ve been here for five years and I ain’t ever seen him talk to anyone. What’d he say to you?”
The elevator door opened. I held it open. “Why don’t you sit down and talk to him one day. He’ll tell you some good things. Oh, and make sure you deliver those flowers.”


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