I’ve written about, old Willie, a man in a wheelchair I see some mornings. https://athingirl.com/2015/12/15/
Our first few encounters didn’t go too well, he being fiercely independent, me determined to help. But in the last few months, Willie and I have become pals.
Every now and then, he disappears, either to Atlantic City to play the slots, or the Veterans Hospital for his ensuing diabetes he doesn’t like to talk about. Along with spine issues, his body, is pretty well fried.
One morning tooling down Lex, I hear someone yelling. “Joan, Joan!” He calls me Joan, as in Arc, after I called myself that once, to be funny. I turn around and there he is, all smiles in his favorite red tweed cap waving for me to come over. As I get nearer, he tells me to stop.
“Watch this,” he says, as he proceeds to do wheelies with the grace of Rudolph Nureyev. Now, it’s only 5 a.m., so there’s no one around in the inky darkness but me, a delivery man dropping off newspapers, a cabbie parked eating a Danish, and an ambulance driver napping in his truck.
After the show Willie says, still sporting that first-class grin…
“I got me, a brand new chair.”.