POST 35. Good Knight May 3, 2024



watercolor by Elaine
I tried to paint Lou

I was in a terrible car accident in 1969 when I was 23. not yet aware that bodies could break and suffer so horribly.


After 8 weeks and several surgeries at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media, I went to my aunt’s house in Havertown for my recovery and physical therapy, in order to stay connected to Riddle Memorial where I was taken after the drunk driver nearly took my life.


I was in a state of despair, consumed by a feeling that I would never get well and that I would never be able to walk normally again.


They say when one door closes, a window opens. At least in this instance, it appeared to be true.


I met my knight in shining armor a few weeks later. It's a rather romantic story. If you are curious, read on.


After a few weeks at my aunt’s house, my best friend Louise came to visit. She asked if I were ready for my first social outing in months.


“How about the mall,” she suggested. I could smell a shopping spree was on her mind.


“Oh, no,” I begged off. “I’m not ready for a long walk on my crutches!”


“Movies then?” she asked.


“Where would I put my leg?” I pleaded. “It still doesn’t bend,” I explained.


Louise made a final offering. “You can’t turn down a beef and beer at Carl’s, can you?“


I admitted to myself that I was really afraid to go, yet both my aunt and uncle encouraged me to have a good time with peers.


So, Loise folded me up in her little MG for the short drive. Despite my emotional and physical discomfort, I was excited.


She settled me into a cozy booth in the restaurant. The double door to the bar was open. Lots of joyful sound came from within, and Louise followed the laughter.


“Want a beer?”


“No,” I shouted after her, noticing that my crutches were hanging on a coat peg, out of reach.

watercolor by Elaine

“I’ll be right back,” she reassured. “Order me a cheddar beef and fries!”


I ordered our sandwiches and waited.


And waited.


And waited.


A scuzzy guy came out of the bar and pushed in next to me, pressing hard against my side. “Anyone eating that?” referring to Louise’s uneaten sandwich.


“No,” I said loudly, “and neither are you!” The liquor on his breath made me feel sick.


How was I going to rid myself of his unwanted attention?


Then I heard a strong voice behind me. “Leave her alone! She’s my girl,” the stranger said definitively! With that the drunken guy slid away.

“You okay?” the stranger asked.


“Yes … and thank you!”


“I saw your friend over there. She’s chatting up my buddy, Freddie.” I smiled in reply.


“She’s lonely. She just went through a nasty breakup.”


“Are you okay alone in here?”


And so it went…for 51 years!


That’s how a young wounded, despairing schoolteacher met a young wounded, despairing Vietnam vet.


I had met my knight in shining armor. Such people really exist.


Funny, though. Lou always said that was the evening he met his knight in shining armor!


Not many people knew the soft, romantic side of Lou. He saved that just for me.


Tell me how you met that special guy.


I’m listening! And I’d like to hear from you!


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