Feeding My Addiction

Set scene: a dimly lit hallway in an elementary school on the edge of town.  It is evening, and the only visible sign of life is the janitor at the far end of the hall, whistling to himself as he prepares the old building for another school day.  Suddenly, a figure emerges from the shadows, carrying a worn leather briefcase.  He shuffles toward the one classroom that has light emanating from below the door.  He pauses to look at the initials scribbled crudely on the piece of notebook paper taped to the door – “F.F.P.A.”  He slowly opens the door, peers in, and announces his presence.

MAN 1: Um … hello?  Is this the right place?

A voice from the other side of the door replies.

MAN 2:  What are you looking for, my friend?

MAN 1:  I’m looking … for help, I guess.

MAN 2:  Then you’ve found the right place.  Come in.

The man enters the room.  As he steps into the light, he is revealed to be a man of middle-age.  He looks as if he might have been somewhat athletic in an earlier place in time, but those days are past.  The hair is a little grayer, and the stomach a little more pronounced.  He is sporting the stubble that comes from three days without shaving, and his bloodshot eyes reveal a lack of sleep.  The old, stained sweatpants bespeak a general disregard for cleanliness, let alone fashion.

MAN 2:  Please come join us.  Take a seat.

Inside the room, a half-dozen individuals sit on folding chairs arranged in a semi-circle.  Those assembled are also male – mostly in their 40s, although a one or two appear to be somewhat younger.  Several are wearing old football jerseys from years past, of players who were once heroes and legends, but have since faded into the woodwork of time.

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A Visit with Great-Grandpa Friedrich

A main reason for our decision to travel to Wisconsin via central Michigan was to take the opportunity to introduce our kids to their great-grandfather.

I was fortunate enough to meet Grandpa Friedrich while I was still dating Beth, and found him to be smart, winsome, and funny.  At 91 years of age, he drove down to Virginia by himself to be a part of our wedding.  A number of our guests made it a point to tell us how delightful it was to talk with him, and what a young spirit he had.  Alas, a stroke a few months after he returned to Michigan robbed him of his mobility, much of his speech, and required him to move to the assisted care facility where we were able to visit him.  But despite his physical limitations, there remains a man with a quick mind and a wry wit.

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