A young woman visits Mr. Bob in Camelot Care Center.
In my youth, I volunteered at Camelot Care Center. I learned about life from the residents.
One resident captured my heart. I called him Mr. Bob. He told me stories, sometimes with embellishments.
“I caught this trout. Seventy inches.” He held out his arms as wide as he could.
“Don’t hold me to it.”
Mr. Bob told me how he met his wife on a beach in Michigan; it was love at first sight.
“Oh, how I miss my Maggie.”
They’d traveled the world together; he said he was with the CIA.
“If you tell anyone, I’ll have to kill you!” he added.
He told war stories about World War II—his war.
“I was in the landing craft--at the front, headed for Normandy. We were packed in like sardines. I was a kid; I was scared. Don’t you dare tell.”
“I won’t!” I brushed away a tear.
"We swept onto the beach, and the ramp dropped open. I was frozen in place. Someone shoved me out of the boat. The bad guys were shooting at me; I ran and ran and ran and…"
He drifted off, staring straight ahead. We sat in silence for a bit.
“Hey, Mr. Bob,” I said as cheerfully as I could muster, “You were telling me that story about the outhouse. Tell me the rest of the story.” I gently stroked his hand.
He nibbled on a cookie…
“Or any story would be good.”
He sipped some water and cleared his throat.
“Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Bobby. And he lived in a tiny house with his mommy and daddy. And one day…”
After a bit, I asked, “And one day what?”
He was sound asleep.
Oh, how I miss my Mr. Bob.