Thursday, January 22, 2009

my internal indifference...

i have a friend.

his name is charles.

everyone in my surrounding area knows him. he probably knocks on their door, asks to take pictures of the tires on their car - or he will make an appointment with you to come by his house. you can't come to the door or honk your horn. no, no, you must wait. very patiently outside, up to twenty minutes, and he will come out....eventually.

your treat might entail a snack size candy bar, a pack of movie popcorn, or a melted chocolate morsel he carried in his pocket for a few days.

he might call and ask to sing you a song, ask advice for an ailing knee, ask the spelling of something or ask for a friends phone number he assumes you know. he also makes the rounds around the neighborhood asking for a cheering section at his special needs basketball games. his dreams entail a full blown crowd of women adoring his newly acquired jazz uniform.

yesterday he called me. i have to be honest and say i ignored the first call, i was up to my armpits in butternut squash and apple soup. right in the pureeing process and felt too busy. he called back a few minutes later only to have little bud "e" pick up and say in his best speech impeded voice, "mom, it's sarles". i knew i needed to attend to this call, he's been known to call up to 40 times in an hour. this one needed no neglect.

i was being huffy and here is how the conversation went:

me: hi charles

charles: hi (long pause and a giggle)

me: what can i do for you today charles?

charles: um, i went to the dentist today. and there is something i need you to do for me.

unnecessary insert-this phrase from him always scares me. one day he was out of food and needed me to bring lunch NOW, other days he needs me to drop everything and take him to the library NOW.

me: what is that charles.

charles: well, on march the 4th, i am going back to the dantit. i need your whole family to do something for me. i need you all to nal and say a pear for me.

me: what charles, what are you saying. i can't understand you very well, i am cooking and have some noise here.

charles: (chuckles) on march 4th i am going to the DENTIST and i need your whole family to KNEEL down and say a PRAYER for me. i need heavenly father to come down and be with me, right there because it might be scary. so will you put that on your calendar for me. just mark it down. i just really need him there that day.

me: yes, charles, i can do that. you'll do fine and i am glad you know who to ask for help.

then, all day i felt like a slug. the other day he was at my house. he wants something "good to drink". he won't take me telling him what's in my fridge, he needs to stand there with it open for a while and look for himself. then, he wants something good to eat. always eying my fruit. he always comes before dinner, the height of zaney"ness" at my house. likes to watch me cook. he saved me from a house fire the other day as he calmly stated that my oven was on fire. some grease from the pan had spilled and caught fire. i didn't understand him at first and then at the third try i turned in enough time to see my oven a flaming. it occurred to me that day that inside his hands full of palsy, his mind trapped, limited and always going and his crooked smile that there was a perfect spirit in the midst of it all. one day, far in the future and in another place, something deep inside me tells me we will be friends.... still. i will have to account for how i treated him here. maybe he will ask me, why were you so snippy that day, i was just trying to show you love.

ahhh. i don't know why it seems to be a pain in my side sometimes, his calls, visits, requests. should be an honor to have a kid like that in my home.

he announced yesterday it was high time i invited him to dinner. after all he watches me cook so much, he's ready to try the food he sees me cooking.

and so i told him, yes charles, you soon will get a dinner invitation to this house. and we talked about his favorite foods and what he likes to eat. then as he was leaving, he said, now do you remember what we talked about today? do you remember what you are going to do for me?

yes, i remember and probably will never forget.....


kate said...

so tender heidi, thanks for making my day.

Deanna said...

Ah yes - I remember meeting him the last time we visited you. He dropped by for a little chat. Won't it be great someday to meet that perfect spirit that is inside him? I know he'll thank you for listening and being such a sweet friend.

Amy said...

Heidi that was awesome! I can relate to your feelings. You will be blessed for sure.

coty said...

I got all welled up and stuff...
i loved that post; brought back memories of my very own "charles" only mines name was "lloyd".
You are so right. there is a perfect spirit in them.
"in as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"
i'm so moved. thanks for feeling the love.
heidi, i come here everyday to check your page. i just love the things you have to say and the special spirit that you have within you. i appreciate your willingness to share. and can't help but feel there is so much i can learn from you.
o long-winded, sappy me...

Natalie Ropelato said...

Thanks Heidi! You make me feel soooo guilty. The phone rang just before I read this, and guess who it was? Yes, Charles. And now I feel guilty because I didn't answer it.

Carrie said...

Heidi...that is sooo sweet! It reminds me of my sweet, sweet aunto who has down syndrome. I could be around her sweet spirit all day! Hey, I keep forgetting to ask do you know Coty? Just curious...her family was in our stake in Okla. Wendy actually dater her brother.

Anonymous said...

I can remember when I had Charles in my Junior High gym class. He is such a neat kid. I think that in saying "Do you remember what is that you were going to do for me" he is really saying,"Don't forget what I am teaching you."

The Gublers said...

Thanks Heidi for that post. Its nice to think of home sometimes, remembering things you normally don't remember.