Thursday, September 18, 2014
It was an absolutely glorious day, the mid day Autumn sun still very strong and high in the sky, and it was easily warm enough for shorts and a tee shirt, even though it was well into September. I had just walked across the street from Ronald McDonald House to deposit a cheque and get some cash at the very conveniently located Bank of Montreal Branch.
I arrived at the doors just before an older man in a dark blue suit, tall and solidly built, who nonetheless was clearly feeling the heat, beads of sweat on his temples, his reddish grey hair cropped closely, and he had a graying well groomed goatee. I opened the outer door, went in first and held it, then opened and held the second door and let him pass ahead. He thanked me, and as we got into a fairly long line of clients for the tellers, he told me to go ahead, as I had arrived at the building first. I noticed the business deposit book in his hand, figured he may be pressed for time, and politely declined:
"You seem to be on business," I said, pointing to his deposit book. "I have been forced to stay for a while across the road, so have all the time in the world, really."
He looked across the road where I had pointed, and smiled. His eyes, I noticed then, sparkled brilliant blue.
"Ahhh, it has been quite a while since I have been there... RMH correct? Close to fifteen years actually now, but my wife and I spent the better part of a summer there."
"Oh! so you know it well then?" I replied,
"It was much smaller when we were there, of course, They added the big addition on about five years ago or so... Our son had B Cell leukemia, got it just after he turned four."
"Oh wow.... Our son has leukemia also, T cell, He got sick in June, and was diagnosed early in July this year."
"So he is almost through consolidation now? You should be able to go home soon then, then things will start to get better."
"That's the plan, and I hope so." I replied. "And if you don't mind...ummm" I had no good idea how to be tactful asking about his son, but I had to know. He did not say whether his son had survived or not.
"Oh Jonathan!" He laughed, heartily. "Just finished first year at University, two inches taller than me, and more of this... and much less of this!" He answered, in turn squeezing his bicep, and patting his gut. I could not help but laugh. "He plays hockey, does well in school, has a wonderful girlfriend, He is great!"
"Well, that is good"
"It is yes. But it wasn't back then, when we were at your stage. You are following a road that very few are permitted to travel. But you will travel it, and eventually you will come to the end. And you'll be able to look back, and see how far you have come, even though it was extremely difficult."
"Well, I do hope so, That is what I have to believe."
"And years from now, you might even meet someone, walking into a bank perhaps, and let them know that they will also likely be successful as they travel the road themselves!" He smiled, "Take care, and good luck!"
He was at the head of the line now, and one of the three tellers had just become available.
"Thank you!" I replied, "Very much."
He laughed again, "No need at all, I know you'll pass it along."