Monday, August 07, 2006

This Heart of Mine

Hello, Blog People. It's me, Wilbur.

So. A lot's been happening around here, as you well noticed. By now the reporters have gone, and things are trying to get back to normal. But Bailey'll get her knickers in a snit if I keep talking about it. She's already giving me the Eye as she types my words. The Scenes and Beans bloggers ain't supposed to talk about the elephant in the living room, see. Fine, then, I'll talk around it. But I'm gonna tell you why the murder and Paige Williams' trouble and all affected me so much.

First I got to back up a bit. I was as surprised as most folks 'round here that when I went in for a triple-bypass they found a heart beating inside me. Thought to St. Pete I had lost that thing back when my daughter died in '75. Took it out, locked it in a box, tossed the box up in the attic with the rest of the foolishness of bygone years, and mailed the key to a dead letter office in Albuquerque. But all these years later the docs told me there really was a heart in there, pumping as well as could be expected for all the gunk in my arteries. Imagine that.

Then after I got out of the hospital--it happened. I saw my daughter, Diana, again. The first day I was able to walk down Main Street, there she was. Young woman was working in Sarah Wray's Simple Pleasures shop, across the street from Java Joint. Girl was adjusting some nonsense they have in the shop window. (Bailey's just shot me a look. It's not nonsense if you like soft and frilly things, or candles and whatnot; I just got no use for it.)

Back to my story. I got a good look at the girl's eyes and criminently if they weren't the same aquamarine as Di's. Hadn't never seen that color eyes anywhere outside my baby's face and there it was. The girl's face was even framed by raven's-wing black hair cut short--like Diana's looked when it grew in after the chemo. If I'd still had all that gunk in my arteries, my ticker would've quit for sure. As it was I barely made it to my stool at Java Joint, and another ten minutes 'til I could tell Bailey I'd seen a ghost.

The girl, Paige Williams, came into Java Joint a few days later and all I could do is gawp at my Diana. Carla Radling told me later the girl must've thought I was a decrepit old sex fiend the way I was staring, but I think that was mostly so Carla could call me decrepit and old.

When I first saw Paige's eyes--that was the first day since Diana died that I really wanted to be alive. Not that I was suicidal before then, but I could take or leave life, made no difference to me. My scar became a trophy, a badge of honor. My heart was still beating and I had something to show for it.

Now Blog People, I'm not gonna get all gooshy here and tell you to carpe your diem and all that, because that's not me. And if you're readjusting your life based on advice from an ol' geezer on the Internet then you're a bigger fool than I am. But I will say this: I've shown my scar to every man, woman, child, and four-legged friend in town a dozen times and more. They've groused and they've groaned and they're tired of it, I know. But they all--without saying it--are as glad to see it as I am to show it. (Bailey's giving me another look. Maybe I'm exaggerating about their enthusiasm.) What I mean is the folks 'round here understand and appreciate that I'm alive. That there's a heart under that fishbelly seam, not the bag of sawdust we all along suspected I had.

Blog People, if you don't want to visit a place where folks give a rip about the simple fact you're alive, then maybe you need to try one of those blood pressure machines at the pharmacy and check for a pulse of your own.

Anyway, this is why I'm rootin' for Paige. You all read the papers; you know what I'm talkin' about. (Bailey's givin' me her Eye again.)

So now that it's a mite quieter around here, come visit Kanner Lake. Stop by Java Joint and say hi. (Before you get on back home.) Just remember like I told you last time--stay off the first stool at the counter. It's mine.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 PM
I'm sorry about your daughter, Mr. Hucks. Thank you for telling your story. It makes me look at Paige Williams on the news in a whole new way.
Posted by Anonymous carly suggs : 10:10 AM
Wilbur, from one veteran to another--I knew there was a heart ticking in you just fine. Now you've shown us another side of you. Takes guts, ol' man. I'm proud of ya.
Posted by Anonymous r.j. hager : 10:11 AM
Mr. Hucks, thank you for this very heartfelt (and I realize the pun) post. I can't help but see in you a different light now. Seems to me perhaps most of your curmudeongly ways is just bluster?
Posted by Anonymous elizabeth monty : 10:12 AM
Wilbur, I wouldn't think of taking your stool at Bailey's counter.

Hats off to you for your post.
Posted by Anonymous burt laroy : 2:13 PM
Our newspapers here are still carrying articles about the case going on their in Kanner Lake. Just too interesting a story to let it die, I guess. Interesting in a horrible sort of way, I mean.
Posted by Anonymous fred wiley : 2:15 PM
I knew you change after Diana died, and you never recovered your jovial self. Frank and I both missed the old Wilbur, but we still loved you. And now that you mention it, I do see the resemblance between Diana and Paige, and they were both too young for all this tragedy.
Posted by Anonymous angie b : 5:11 PM
Wilbur, It's one thing to tell a story- anyone can do that. It's quite another to get up the courage to pour a little bit of yourself into it- exposing a bit of your soul to the world. Wonderful post.

p.s. Baily, the blog is a wonderful break for me from all of the craziness at the paper. It's a good reminder that Kanner Lake is still Kanner Lake, despite the horrific recent crime.
Posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 7:12 AM
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