In simpler days, quoting snippets of proverbs added meaning and depth to writing. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” was a universal favorite, especially among GIs pining for a hometown sweetheart. This was countered by a pessimistic “Out of sight, out of mind,” fearful a 4F exemption might be romancing her. [Of course, the end-all was a dreaded “Dear John” letter, especially if your name wasn’t John.]
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Which will constitute a 2015 segue to the subject of our ever popular and intriguing “Oh-bah-keh-sama.” If nothing else, she remains Crossroads to Somewhere’s favorite enigma.
After a fairly active November spate of visitations – seven after only four in October – the month of December stoked the fear of a possible sayonara. There was nothing but night after night of light sleep wondering. Finally? “O’s” absence ran a record twenty-nine days, from a November 28th telephone ring, nothing but live silence until a trio of decisive knocks on Saturday, Dec. 27th. The one-month lapse was a very severe test, to be sure.
Thankfully 2015 has begun with vigor and reassurance. On the third of January, a Saturday morning, a most unusual six-count knocking took place at 5:15; then followed a two-knock interruption at 5:59! Two within such a short time interval was unusual, as well as the lateness of the hour. The second was such a surprise, I went to the trouble of opening the door, believing it must be staff or an inordinately early (live) visitor. Nope, the hallway is empty except for one chagrined Jappo in blue-striped boxer shorts.
Adding to a visitation version of a New Year’s oh-seh-chi ryori (special holiday food) was Keiro Retirement Home resident Rose T’s reintroduction to the world of mystery.
She experienced her first “O” moment last June. A third-floor tenant, Rose was initially traumatized by a combination of eerie noises emanating from her radio, followed by knocks on the door. Being a Rafu reader, she was aware of the CR2S phenomena, which meant winding up only half scared out of her wits. For a number of (unstated) reasons, she subsequently moved to a ground-floor apartment, which put her right next to the office and nurses’ station. [Halfway down the corridor is my abode. Making it easier for “O” to double up if in the mood.]
Yup, you guessed it. Last Thursday at 2:11 a.m., two firm door taps let her know the move to another floor didn’t discourage “O”! And then — voila! — the following morn my reverie is interrupted by a single ring of my bedside phone.
It appears 2015 has the makings of an interesting continuation of the strange apparition that began — wow! — more than three years ago. Time, good hearing and a sound ticker (and maintaining sanity) will be needed to continue the strange saga.
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Every now and again, especially in the autumn of our years, something happens that prompts reflection. You know, a look back, with a smile or frown. It could be anything: Running into an old friend, reading a newspaper article, viewing a television retrospective.
Because activity is somewhat limited these days, having a car handy isn’t a dire necessity. I mean, shoot, a trip to Disneyland to catch measles isn’t planned, nor a trip to Greek Theatre or Ferndale. So having an automobile means unrestricted physical (and mental) mobility. That’s why it’s so traumatic when you have to take someone’s keys away.
I make my car available to whichever grandson is in need of wheels during a school vacation or weekend. Jeff’s #3, Cody, the volleyballer and recent new licensee, was home from Santa Cruz for the holidays. So here’s the keys and a tank of gas, go get ’em, Librero! So he goes out and has a fender-bender. Welcome to the driven world, kiddo.
The accident reminded me of another youthful Hiroto and his first automobile: A Studebaker, the Edsel of the ’40s; you didn’t know if it was going or coming. Nii-san Edwin said to buy it, so I did. As a recently discharged S/Sgt. with ill-gotten lucre saved from 30 months overseas, I paid cash for the practically *new sedan. [*Which still required a quart of oil for every tankful of gas.]
So I was what? Twenty years old. But a baby when it came to driving. Went into camp at a bicycle-riding 13, exited at 16 knowing more about scorpions than rumble seats; into khaki at 17 knowing how to double down but not how to double clutch. After thirty months overseas years riding jeeps and two-tons, you wind up a youthful scamp that never learned how to drive (among a plethora of other shortcomings).
I commenced to drive that first automotive indignity sixty miles an hour, which was as fast as it would go. And wrapped it around a tree stump. Did I scold my grandson after his misfortune? Naw, actually I got a kick out of the whole shebang. [Which is more than I can say for Tokio Marine. Still no approval to repair after more than two weeks since.]
W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.