“Well lookee here, if it isn’t ol’ what’s-his-name!”
Some things, and people, just never change.
To hear the voice of Big Logger Mike bellowing at me, just like he always has, was welcome after going through tumultuous change the past six months.
“Are you just going to stand there gawking at me or are you going to tell me something new?” the man in yellow roared from to the top of his downtown lookout. “For starters, where the hell have you been?”
“There and back,” I replied with a sly grin.
“Oh, you’ve been to that little hell-hole of a bar down Mexico way that I usually frequent during my winter sabbaticals,” Logger Mike said with wink. “Well, yeah, I got stuck in there for a few months myself.”
“Well, not exactly…I’ve been sick…”
“Sick in the head, I says. Why, you’ve been like that for YEARS!”
I couldn’t help but smile as old Mike laughed so hard he started hacking and coughing.
While I waited for him to stop slapping his knee, I thought back to “The Ordeal”: Two operations, more than five weeks in a couple hospitals and a long slow recovery.
In a nutshell, I’m fortunate to be here and I know that more than ever.
“Just happy to be back on my feet and telling stories again,” I said.
“Well, you’re certainly looking better than you used to be. I think you’ve lost about a skidder off that belly,” he said with a little admiration.
“Why thank-you, but I warn you now that kind of weight-loss program isn’t recommended,” I cautioned. “Besides, I look at it a little differently: I’ve got rid of the weight.”
“What the heck’s the difference?” Logger Mike asked, looking confused.
“Well, this is just semantics, but if you lose weight, you’re probably going to find it again. If I get rid of the extra pounds, hopefully they will be gone forever,” I told him.
“Just stop using those big fancy words,” Mike replied with disgust. “Tell me what you’ve learned.”
Wow, I didn’t expect that. I stopped and thought for a moment – I’ve learned so much and changed too.
“For starters, I was very fortunate to receive great care from the doctors and especially the nurses here in Campbell River.”
“And what else?” Mike said, encouraging me to go on.
“I never fully appreciated how much I was loved and how much that love helped me recover, both physically and mentally,” I replied. “I can’t say enough about the support I received from my dear wife, my family, friends, co-workers and so many others.”
As a tear welled up in my eye, Logger Mike replied gently, “I think you’ve learned a lot.
“Good for you.”