Cafe' Encounters-Part 5
“Mr. Beaker…oh my gosh Mr. Beaker, you stubborn old coot, what are you doing out here, in this?” Hoping against hope that he hadn’t broken anything else in his fool-hardy attempt to reach the Café. “Mr. Beaker, Sam! Can you hear me? Are you okay?”
“No! I’m not okay!” came the angry reply, “I fell and I can’t get up and I’m freezing! Help me up, will you and don’t just gawk at me young fella. Get me to the Café, it’s bound be close.”
“Of course, here,” extending my arm “ grab hold, and brace your good foot against my boot.” Taking hold of his arm and placing my foot securely as I could against his, I pulled. He came up surprisingly easy. How much do you get to eat? I thought. “Mr. Beaker, where are your crutches?” I shouted into the wind.
“Dropped the fool things when I fell…must be here somewhere.” Making sure Mr. Beaker was standing with some stability; I made a quick search for the crutches which, thankfully, weren’t far away. Positioning one under Mr. Beaker’s arm, I carried the other and supported his weak side.
The wind blew behind us now bringing with it the added difficulty of snow down my neck. I had a struggle not to let it push us off balance and forward. So concentrated was I in staying upright and with the visibility the way it was, I walked right into the light pole at the crossing.
“Steady Sonny,” said Mr. Beaker, “Can’t have you knocking yourself out.” Chuckling some.
“Right sir.” Not seeing anything humorous in the situation.
I tried shake the ringing from my head and get my bearings. Which way was the café now? I felt totally disoriented. I listened. At first all I could hear was the howling of the wind. Wow, you would think I was standing out on the prairie instead of in town. I feel so blind. Then, just barely, I heard the sound of my name. My heart beat increased, I listen again, harder if that were possible. And yes, there it was coming from my right.
I slide my foot forward and nudged Mr. Beaker to follow. Without warning my foot came off the curb nearly tipping me over. The street! Now assuming I’m crossing the right way… I continued to snail slide forward. It seemed to take forever to get across the street. The wind buffeting us with a force I had never encountered before this. The snow caked on my sweat soaked hair and clung to my eyebrows and eyelashes making it difficult to see. It was all I could do to focus putting one foot ahead of the other and not let Mr. Beaker inadvertently turn me.
Again, thankfully, I bumped up against the opposite curb, I hoped. Carefully helping, a weakening Mr. Beaker up the curb, I decided I would keep going straight. I listened, and tried to peer into the snow. It can’t be far, it can’t be and then a solid white specter appeared on the other side of Mr. Beaker.
A Whiteout Blizzard
“I see you…Sam…here grab my arm”
“Jill…is that you?” I asked with amazement.
“Yea, come on, I’ll explain later, Mr. Briggs…” and the rest was lost in the wind as she reached for a rope and turned us toward the café. A rope! Praise God for Mr. Briggs and Jill’s courage. Thanks Lord. I knew we were safe now.
As we got to the door, it flew open and arms reached out to quickly pull us in. The first few minutes were given to a great quantity of stamping and exclamations of surprise. Taking the towel offered to me, I wiped the snow from my face and the cold wet from around my neck. Removing my coat, I hung it by the door to drip dry. Wiping my slacks free of snow, I joined the rest who had gathered around Mr. Beaker.
They had taken him straight to his customary chair by the fire before attempting to remove his coat and mittens. His hat lost to the wind of the storm. He sat with his eyes closed and made not a sound. His face deathly pale. Clancy and Jill were gently wiping the snow from his face while another customer was undoing his coat buttons.
Again, with a gentleness that a mother would have for a child, Jill spoke softly into Sam’s ear to lean forward so they could take his coat off. Compliantly leaning forward Sam allowed the ladies to remove his coat. Clancy, threw the towel to one side and took hold of one arm and pulled. Leaning back he sighed with contentment as the heat of the fire enveloped him.
“Do you think he’ll be alright?” asked Mr. Briggs with uncharacteristic softness. But before I could answer, and without moving a muscle, Mr. Beaker growled,
“Of course I’ll be alright. What do you think, Joseph Briggs that a little snow would defeat me?” Sam’s eyes opened to give a steely look to his long-time friend.
©Ulrike Grace 2010