Maria T. Groschup-Black
In Care of Driver
Hugh is a delightful old man in his early 80s. He is tall and slender; his smile spreads easily from ear to ear. His eyes, neither vacant nor lost, twinkle with laughter and joy at the simple things in life. Each step is a new beginning and every day a victory.
Today, a familiar presence guides him to his bus and a familiar voice comforts his infantile needs with precise directions. “Step up Daddy. Step up.” “Daddy, step UP!” A gentle nudge behind the knee usually helps to remind Hugh how to make his legs go. Today it is not enough. A gruff voice, accompanied by a playful smack on the butt intercedes. “Harrison! Get on up the bus!” Hugh chuckles “yes Ma’am” and climbs the step himself. Not even the advanced stages of his disease can make him forget his “boss” of 50 years.
“Sit down Daddy.” The voice is always patient though firm. “Scoot over Daddy so I can buckle you in.” Each command is repeated and followed with a nudge. At every command Hugh breaks into his wide grin, nods his head and responds “yeah.” Then he immediately forgets to follow through. The family breathes in momentary peace as the driver takes over and they are granted an all too short but much needed break from his daily care.
Hugh is safely delivered to his location, a research and day-care facility where the command sequences begin anew. “Stand up Mr. Harrison, stand up.” Hugh’s innocence and child-like glee makes everyone instantly fall in love with him. His laughter and smile make them all wish they’d know him before; for certainly, an aged soul with so much delight must have been yet more beautiful in his most cognitive times.
Hugh: Bright in mind and spirit – Old German… derived from Hugo
A thinker; Intelligent – Welsh variant of the Latin Hugh