The Lost Column

Slice of life stories on family, sports, losing, and life

If you look closely, the man pictured below donning a light gray winter cap, brown jacket and khakis was about to be turned down for a dose. On MLK day this week, the man didn’t know he needed an appointment, he just saw the big signs for vaccines here in Hartford and heard the AM radio talk about it, so the man walked 4 blocks in blustery conditions and waited in line. The nurse coordinator gave him a website, a phone number and an apology, but then asked him to move along with 100 circling the building. She did what she had to do I suppose. That man is 83 and against my better judgment, I left my spot to find him. Wasn’t too difficult if I’m being honest, since each step took him great effort and obvious pain, plus I was already feeling out of place amidst the 75 and up crowd, even though the state had okayed part-time teachers. That man and I found a lonely bench and with the magic of the iphone and a little patience, I registered the man for an appointment for an hour later at the Pratt & Whitney drive-up location. The man didn’t have a car anymore and quipped in the moment, “What do I have to do today,” so I gave him a ride and changed my own appointment slot. The man had his wits about him but admitted he had felt overwhelmed lately. He talked about how “my Janie would do all this,” his angel until passing away 5 years ago to cancer. The man cried a little when he said that, but he smiled telling me how she used to make the best monte cristo. “I can still taste it,” he said. The man told me the story 3x on that ride. But I didn’t mind. The man, Jerry Wilder, thinks he retired in 2006, same year as my dad. He grew up in Brooklyn on Franklin Street but spent most of his adult life in greater Hartford. He and Janie had 3 kids and 5 grandkids who mostly live in the Midwest, but his daughter is nearby but busy. “She teaches the kids who have the special needs, autism, not sure which grade. I think it’s kindergarten.” I asked the man what he used to do. “I was a neonatologist. Was actually a pretty good ball player back in the 60s….had a call-up with the Kansas City Athletics, but I couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield enough.” So you became a doctor I said. “I guess so,” Jerry said. That man was my Moonlight Graham on Monday, on MLK day, when we think about dreaming a little and not about what is but what can be and sometimes what was. I’m glad I left my spot to give him a shot. Was my gain.

Lost Columns:

Every Great Success Story

Old Stewball

Ankle Tape In The Air Tonight

Fish Hooked

The Glee Generation

Who’s Cronkite?

This Is Your Song

In Crisis, Dinner Time Dancing Is New Team Sport

Senior Moments During The Virus

Greatest Game Ever Played, Sort Of

Managing Teens, One Song At A Time

Early Ending For An Artist

The Sunday Pick Up

Father’s Day Error

Passed Ball

Top 10 Sports Movies About Losing

The Celebration of Mediocrity

Lost & Found

Break A Leg

The New Marriage Vow

Our Losing Season


Keep Pedaling


3 thoughts on “The Lost Column

  1. I loved this story …. healthcare can be hard to negotiate. People that manage the intake sometimes are left in a very difficult position . . . Disappoint the patients or disappoint their bosses. People in “charge” often forget why they got into healthcare.

    In my career one of the things that I loved was approving charity care for people. Sometimes I would know that people were not telling the truth …. other times I went home smiling and crying at the same time because I knew we helped someone today that really needed it. While It was easy to become Jaded in dealing wit the vast numbers, you can take solace in the knowledge that you made a difference today.

  2. Thanks Brad. Great points. And appreciate your service. And in crisis moments our behavior can be influenced by a lot of different things – not just what we’re told to do, but what may be happening in our personal life, what may have happened that morning, or what we see and hear in front of us. Sometimes, though, people do what they know to be right and take a chance, hang a shingle, even if it doesn’t comply with what’s on a form.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s