Friday, 26 June 2015

Another quiet Christian


An edited transcript of a phone conversation I had with a very old and very good friend, not 10 minutes ago:

"Mr Allinson. It's Mr Bushell." (My usual greeting)

"Mr Bushell! How lovely to hear you, Dear Boy. How are you?"

"I am fine, thank you. How are you?"

"I am croaking. This will be the last time we speak to each other, I think." (I come clean about prior knowledge)

"Yes, so I heard. Remind me what it is again?"

"Lung cancer, but I am extremely fortunate. I am in no pain and the doctor says that I will just not wake up one morning."

"Which morning will that not be, have you any idea?"

"Two to three weeks, I think. Emma has just left. I am so fortunate to have the children living close by. How's Jackie?"

"Oh, she's fine, thanks. She's out just now, otherwise I would hand you over."

"How's things in Bath? How's Rupert?"

"He died about 4 years ago, followed about 6 months later by Sheila."

"Oh, did he? Did she? How's Robbie?"

"He died too. Emphysema. That was about 3 years ago."

"Ah. How's Jeff from The Yellow Shop?"

"He's fine, but his mother died 2 weeks ago." (Jeff is almost 70)

"Ah. Some stupid cancer research charity contacted me the other day, and said that with the right funding, they could eradicate cancer in a matter of years. Then where will we be? We've got to die of something, and I am 83. I don't think many people will be coming to my send-off."

"You might be surprised if you were around to witness it."

I remember all those days and nights in the Paragon Wine Bar, the loves and arguments, the friends overseas who still hanker after those days, but - surprisingly - I do not feel sad. I feel almost as fortunate as Colin seems to.

"Anyway, Dear Boy, lovely to hear from you, but I am getting tired now so I have to go. I will get Emma to call you to let you know when I die. Goodbye. God bless."

"Goodbye."

I didn't tell him I loved him, but maybe - hopefully - I didn't have to.




26 comments:

  1. The photo is Colin's cottage in the Cotswolds. I sat in that chair in Bath as well. He didn't have to buy his own furniture...

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  2. A dear sailing friend of mine died from cancer. She was a good bit younger than Mr Allinson, and the last conversation we had on the phone was similar to yours. Just very matter of fact and both glad for a chance to chat.

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    1. It's good when you get the chance and understanding, isn't it?

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  3. A poignant picture, you know. But a good farewell

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    1. That's a Panama hat, not a piss-pot, in case you didn't know...

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  4. A moving and heart-rending phone call Tom. He is a good friend of yours isn't he ? You showed us a photograph of him in his cottage once. I think a few more glasses are called for tonight. XXXX

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  5. Only you!
    And there's comfort in that

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  6. Seems to be a lot of it going around the older one gets. The line keeps getting shorter and before you know it, you're in the front. I would like to think if we make it long enough, we'll be ready to go.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, so do I. He is handling just like he has always handled things. Very level.

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  7. He has come to terms with it, and that is very good. And he is right, of course.

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  8. I've not had one of those conversations, but now I feel that I have. Will you go to see him?

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    1. I don't think he really wants visitors. He always feels as though he has to cook, etc, and I don't think he eats any more. After a lifetime of buying cheap whisky, he is now treating himself to single malt. That's all he drinks now, he told me last night, and even the consumption of that has gone right down.

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  9. Sad Tom, but a good, philosophical attitude.

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  10. He's a good fellow, and you are of his good ilk.

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  11. The attitude - accepting near death in that calm way - is very brave. He has found peace.

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  12. Does he have an e-mail address Tom? Would you share that with me please?
    I would delete immediately once I took it down.

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    1. No, of course I will not 'share' that with you. I said he was a quiet Christian. Just behave yourself, if you are capable of doing that. Show some Grace when you are faced with the real thing.

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    2. Very restrained tom xxxx

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    3. By 'share it with me' he really meant 'give it to me', but that would have sounded too selfish for his purposes - not quite Christian enough!

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    4. Chris is another one who I thought I had barred, only to find Google has unbarred them for me, and there is fuck-all I can do about it without barring everyone.

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