Old Man Crull

Old man Crull was sitting on a bench, watching a birdbath. He was sitting there because, well, because that's what he did. Everyday was pretty much the same for old man Crull. And, at the end of them, he couldn't remember one thing that had happened throughout.

I figured I'd sit with him for a bit and help him pass the time. I'd sat on the bench many times with him. They had always been more pleasant than they'd become. He didn't remember that he'd ever seen me before.

"Good day for sittin', ain't it?" I said as I moved his hat so I would have room to sit.

"Yes, it is. Yes, it is" he said as he welcomed me with his eyes. Some things can never change. "Did you see that guy? Over at the...you saw him. Didn't you?"

I could tell he was in a talking mood. So, I had to be in a listening mood. I always had been. I didn't think the fact that he had no idea who I was should stop me from listening now.

"No, I didn't see him. Where'd he go?"

"Ohhh...that was the guy. He played ball with us that time. You weren't....were you there?" He was thinking hard. He had the facts in there. They just weren't in order. Weren't where they belonged. He couldn't get to them.

"I was there. I was there at first. Then, I had to leave. Remember?"

"I'll tell you. That guy could hit a baseball. Clyde.  I always could hit 'cause I was a lefty. I liked 'em down and away, ya know. Below the knees and outside. Clyde could crush 'em. They were up on that road where that store is...." he changed gears.

"I'll never forget those women looking at those mushrooms. That one...the one that lived behind the store...she squealed. I'll never forget that" he said with a smile of satisfaction of finding a mushroom that made a woman squeal someplace in time. It may as well had been yesterday.

"That store's not there anymore, is it?" I asked. I had no idea what store he was talking about. I wanted him to keep remembering things, though. Putting pieces of non-existent puzzles together to make a picture in his mind.

"They're all gone. All of 'em." He looked to his left. He looked a long way off. "I'm blind."

"Do what?"

"I'm blind."

"What do you mean you're 'blind'?" I asked as I'd never heard him say this.

"I can't see anything. See those cows up there? See those layin' there in the grass? I can't see them" he said.

"Well, it sounds like you can see them. Those calves are 400 yards away."

"He sure could hit."

Back to Mrs. Purtlebaugh's page.

Felix J. McGillicuddy- 2006