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The Best of Friends and Neighbors? The Best of Friends and Neighbors?
by Leah Sellers
2016-05-22 09:48:02
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“Aha !  Gin Rummy !  I win !”  Mr. Boyd declared holding his Yankees baseball cap high into the air above his head in victory.
 
“Ha !  Yes, Mr. Boyd, but we’re playing Rummikub, sir,”  Irma Lou reminded.
 
“I know that.  But I love Gin, and I enjoy this game of Rummy on ice cubes you introduced this ‘ole retired Accountant to.  And so, when I win, I declare it a Gin Rummy win, heh, heh.”
 
Laughing softly, while gathering the Rummikub tiles together and shuffling them on the table top, Irma Lou, asked, “Would you care for another Sprite or something to munch on before we start our next game, sir ?”
 
“No, my can’s still half full, and that chicken fried steak and baked potato and asparagus you made me for dinner is still sticking to these ‘ole boney ribs,”  Mr. Boyd answered as he took another sip of his favorite soda pop.
 
“Did you have a good morning, Mr. Boyd ?”  Irma Lou asked as she continued to shuffle the Rummikub tiles.  “Clack-i-ty, Clack-i-ty, Clack….”
 
“Yes, Moe came by early this morning, and he and I went out for lunch, and made a trip to the bank.  He asked me to transfer $125,000.00 into his account so that he can build an extra room onto his house for his wife’s mother to occupy.  He even invited me to live there as well,”  Mr. Boyd said with a twinkle in his eye.
 
“Clack !”  Irma Lou suddenly stopped shuffling the Rummikubs.  “Excuse me, sir, but did you say that Mr. Moe had you transfer $125,000.000 from you bank account into his bank account ?”
 
“Yes, he needs it, and I might just decide later on down the road to go and live with his wife’s mother in that new addition to his house.  Things just have not felt the same since my sweet Martha was put into that place after she attacked Moe with that kitchen knife.  I’m not as happy living here at my own home.  Too many happy memories haunt this place, and make me sad.”
 
“Things are just not the same here with Martha gone,”  Mr. Boyd sighed.
 
neib01_400Irma Lou was aware of everything that Mr. Boyd was so honestly and painfully admitting to her.  Mrs. Martha, who suffered with early onset Alzheimer’s, had inexplicably lost control with Mr. Moe a few weeks back.  Mr. Moe swore that he had done nothing to warrant her yelling and screaming at him, and attacking him with a kitchen knife in the kitchen, but he had no difficulty calling the police, and having Mrs. Martha embarrassingly hauled off to the State Hospital, and convincing Mr. Boyd to have her put away at a very expensive private Home.
 
Irma Lou knew that Mr. Boyd deeply missed Mrs. Martha.  They were a true Love Bird couple.  They were inseparable.  So, in order to keep Mr. Boyd busy and give his spirit’s a lift, Irma got him out of his house as often as possible for his Veteran-Buddy events and frequent activities held within Moon Beam Mecca, an upscale residential community for the elderly, located just outside the small town of Cut-’n-Shoot.
 
Irma Lou had puzzled over the why’s and wherefore’s of Mrs. Martha’s out-of-character attack on Mr. Moe since all of the tragic events had occurred while she was out-of-state visiting relatives, and Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha were attended to by other ladies belonging to the organization she worked for.
 
Mrs. Martha, like Mr. Boyd, was a very sharp, sweet-hearted, gregarious and humorous Soul.  What had happened during Irma Lou’s absence had made no sense to her.  But now, after this news about Mr. Boyd’s $125,000.00, Irma Lou was beginning to get an idea as to what may have led to Mrs. Martha’s wildly violent actions against Mr. Moe.
 
When Irma Lou had first met Mrs. Martha and Mr. Boyd they had taken her back to one of their bedrooms which had been converted into The Lincoln Room.
 
The Lincoln Room was filled with the American president’s, Abraham Lincoln’s, memorabilia, paintings, sculptures, and other antiques that Mrs. Martha had proudly collected during she and Mr. Boyd’s travels over a lifetime.
 
Lincoln was Mrs. Martha’s favorite United States president, and one of Irma Lou’s, too.  So, Irma Lou had felt an immediate affinity toward Mrs. Martha and her loving husband.
 
 Over the next few weeks that followed, Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha really had proven themselves to be a Love Bird couple.  They loved one another to the near exclusion of all others.
 
And Irma Lou, knew from her own personal experiences with such couples, that the Children of Love Birds were often blindly emotionally abandoned - sometimes even damaged by such parents.
 
But Irma Lou had met their two sons, and they both seemed to have weathered their Childhoods relatively unscathed.  In fact, she, and the organization she worked for, had been hired by one of their son’s, who lived hundreds of miles away in a large city, to help his parents with their daily needs and activities.
 
“Ahem, you look bothered by what I just told you, Irma Lou,”  Mr. Boyd interrupted Irma Lou’s musings.
 
Irma Lou smiled warmly, and began shuffling the Rummikubs across the table once again,  “Clack-i-ty, Clack-i-ty, Clack !”
 
“Oh no, sir.  I was just thinking that we have time for just one more game of Rummikub before I need to help you get ready for bed, and begin reading that new library book to you that you requested this evening, sir.  I picked it up at the library for you on my way over here today.  I think that it will turn out to be a rather interesting spy-adventure novel.  Your favorite genre, Mr. Boyd.”
 
Mr. Boyd relaxed and returned her smile.  Rubbing his hands together in anticipation he said, “Alright, young lady, are you ready to lose to me
again ?”
 
“Well now, Mr. Boyd, that is yet to be proved, sir.”  Irma Lou laughed.
 
Little did Mr. Boyd know that Irma Lou worked hard to make sure that Mr. Boyd won most of the time.  She only allowed herself to win the game every now and then, so that Mr. Boyd wouldn’t get suspicious about his own very frequent wins.
 
Mr. Boyd had been a brilliant Head Accountant for a major International Oil Company.  But after having a series of mini-strokes, his short term memory had been profoundly affected, and Mr. Boyd had retired earlier than expected.
 
So, during almost every game they played, Irma Lou went out of her way to lose to Mr. Boyd.  In fact, she rather enjoyed doing it, because she had discovered that she had to work harder to lose than she did to win.  That unexpected finding had always surprised Irma Lou, but she relished the challenge of trying to lose to Mr. Boyd, and watching him humorously revel in his Rummikub victories.
 
After reading Mr. Boyd to sleep later that evening, Irma Lou rang up her organization’s director, and told her about what she had learned from Mr. Boyd earlier in the day, and what she intended to do about it, starting out.  Her director agreed with Irma’s Lou’s suggestions, and told her to keep her apprised of the situation.  Then Irma Lou immediately called Mr. Boyd’s son, Abraham.
 
“Hello, Abraham, how are you doing this evening, sir ?”  asked Irma Lou.
 
“Hello, Irma Lou.  Fine.  Just fine.  Is everything alright down there with mom and dad ?”
 
“Well, sir, I have some rather unpleasant news to share with you.  Mr. Boyd told me that Mr. Moe drove him to Mr. Boyd’s bank today, and had your daddy transfer $125,000.00 from his account, and place it into Mr. Moe’s bank account.”
 
There was a momentary pause over the phone.  “Are you sure you heard dad correctly ?”
 
“Oh, yes sir.  Mr. Boyd told me that Mr. Moe needed the cash in order to build an additional room onto his own home for his wife’s mother to live in,  and Mr. Moe even invited Mr. Boyd to live there as well.”
 
“What ?!  Dad loves his own home.  That’s why we have you and the other ladies from your organization there with him every day.”
 
“Yes sir, but since Ms. Martha had to leave their home over that incident with Mr. Moe, Mr. Boyd struggles with her loss and has bouts of depression.”
 
“You’re still taking dad to see mom every week aren’t you ?”
 
“Yes sir, every Friday, and any other time he requests a visit with her.  Mrs. Martha always responds well to his visits, and he is always overjoyed to see her and spend time with her.”
 
“Sometimes they join other residents in conversations or games.  At other times they just sit out in the garden together holding hands.  The visits are always good, but sometimes Mrs. Martha and Mr. Boyd have difficulty saying ’good-by’ when it comes time to leave.  They really enjoy their time together.”
 
“Good. Good.  That’s good to hear.”  Abraham said gently.  “Irma Lou, perhaps you should call the police.”
 
“Mr. Abraham, I think that should be a last resort, sir.  Mr. Boyd looks at Mr. Moe as one of his best friends.  He’s really quite attached to him.  Especially since Mrs. Martha’s departure from their home.”
 
“Perhaps, instead, you can call Mr. Moe, and plan a face-to-face meeting with him at a public restaurant down here in Cut-’n-Shoot somewhere.  Then you can broach this topic with him, and see if he willingly returns your daddy’s money to him.  Then other decisions can be made after that point in time, if necessary, sir,”  Irma Lou suggested.
 
“Hmmm, you may be right.  Dad is very fond of Moe.”  There was another phone pause. “Alright, I’ll give Moe a call right now, and set things up.”
 
“Yes sir.”  Irma replied.
 
“Irma Lou, thank you for keeping an eye on mom and dad.  Franklin and I owe you a great debt of gratitude,”  Abraham said earnestly.
 
“No sir, that‘s not necessary.  I’m simply taking care of your mom and dad, and your family, as you requested that I do,”  Irma Lou replied matter-of-factly.
 
“Sir, perhaps you should call you brother, Franklin, and have him join you at your meeting with Mr. Moe,”  Irma added.
 
“I’ll call him, after I speak with Moe, and see what he says.  Again, thank you for informing me of all of this disturbing news so promptly, Irma Lou.”
 
“Don’t mention it, Abraham.  I look forward to seeing y’all soon.  Goodnight, sir.”
 
“Goodnight, Irma Lou.”
 
The very next day, two of Mr. Boyd’s Neighbors dropped by unexpectedly wanting to know why Mr. Boyd’s sons were coming for a visit, particularly to see Mr. Moe.
 
Irma Lou was taken aback by their strangely accusatory and unexpected questioning, but hid her internal reaction by telling them that The Boys hadn’t informed her of anything definitive, but that she was glad to get the Neighborhood Grape-vine scuttlebutt, and appreciated the heads-up regarding The Boys visit so that she could prepare something special for them for dinner.  Irma Lou had quickly decided that sometimes playing The UnInformed One was the best course of action in some situations.
 
Mr. Boyd, true to his normally sunny disposition, told his Neighborly Friends that he was delighted that his sons were both coming for a visit, but that he did wonder why The Boys wanted to see Mr. Moe in particular.
 
When alone with Mr. Boyd once again, Irma Lou wondered about The Neighbors unusual interest in Mr. Boyd’s Sons visit.  And why Mr. Moe obviously had The Neighbors spying for him.  And why they would even agree to spy for Mr. Moe in the first place.  Were they that bored ?
 
Two days later, Mr. Boyd’s Sons arrived, and met with Mr. Moe at the Boot Lickin’ Good Bar-be-que Pit.  The restaurant was known for having the best barbeque in all of Cut-’n-Shoot, and Moon Beam Mecca, for that matter.
 
Before Abraham and Franklin arrived back at the Mr. Boyd’s home, Irma Lou received a phone call from yet another Concerned Neighbor.
 
Mr. Bevo said, “Irma Lou, please inform Abraham and Franklin that some of The Neighbors, and myself, would like to have a Gathering with The Boys at my house, at 8:00 this evening.”
 
“Yes sir, I will, Mr. Bevo,”  Irma Lou promised.
 
When Abraham and Franklin returned to their dad’s home in Moon Beam Mecca, Irma Lou told them about the neighbors odd request,
 
Franklin got hot.  “Who do these people think they are ?  Why are they butting into our Family business at all ?  We‘re not even sure that Moe is going to return dad‘s $125,000.00 to him.”
 
The elder brother, Abraham, had a cooler head.  “I agree with you, Franklin.  But, I must admit that I am very curious to hear what they think they have to say about our Family’s affairs.  Perhaps, they are just interested in protecting, Moe ?  They’ve all been friends with him and dad for over ten years now, and they don‘t really know us at all.”
 
Abraham looked pointedly at Irma Lou.  “And, Irma Lou, I want you to come along with us, if you would ?”
 
Irma Lou was surprised by Abraham’s request, but answered, “Well, if you think I should, I will, Abraham.  I, too, must confess that I am very curious to get to the bottom of all of this or whether or not there is even a bottom to get to.”
 
Abraham and Franklin sniffed and chuckled at Irma Lou’s remark.
 
Irma Lou continued, “Perhaps, they are only interested in protecting both Mr. Boyd and Mr. Moe, because, as Abraham said, all of these folks have been friends for quite some time.  Perhaps, it’s something more.  But there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to meet it, and them, head on.  So, thank you for the invitation.”
 
“Thank you for your willingness to attend,”  Abraham said gratefully.
 
“Who knows, Abraham, perhaps I’ll be helpful as a witness or a buffer.  Either way, my unexpected presence at The Gathering will definitely change the dynamics of the meeting in some ways, ha !”  Irma Lou surmised.
 
“Also, I’ll call my director, and have someone else come in to keep an eye on and help Mr. Boyd, while I attend The Gathering with y’all,”  Irma Lou added.
 
“Excellent idea, Irma Lou.  Can you be back here this evening at around
7:30 ?  Then we can all walk across the street to the Bevo’s party.”  Abraham inquired.
 
“Yes sir.  I’ll see you gentlemen then.”  Irma Lou replied.
 
As Irma Lou drove home to change for The Gathering, she rolled the events of the day around in her head.  The Boys requesting her presence at the party was multi-purposed.  It would signal to The Neighbors a certain importance in her role with Mr. Boyd, and his wellbeing.  It would supply The boys with a buffer and a witness to whatever took place or was said at The Gathering.  And if things went south, Irma Lou knew that she would become the Scapegoat for all of The Neighbors tensions that they would not be able to directly take out on The Boys, because Abraham and Franklin lived so far away.  No matter what happened, Irma Lou was taking a bite out of a very sour pickle of a situation that she had little stomach for, but would navigate her way through for the sake of Mr. Boyd, Mrs. Martha and their Boys.
 
Besides, Irma Lou knew that no one involved on either side of this shady and very unsavory mess would really mind her taking on the role of Scapegoat.  After all, she was Just a CareGiver.  She was Only an Irma Lou.
 
Oh well, it is a dog-eat-dog World after all, Irma Lou reminded herself.  Yes, that was the Reality that Humanity continued to Choose to perpetuate for itself. 
 
So, everybody caught in the trap, even though, like Christ, they knew that there were better and more Enlightened Paths to follow and Create in order to more Progressively and Positively Exist and Survive, would just have to grin and bear it.
 
Irma Lou took a very deep breath and summoned up a dutiful grin to reflect back to herself within her rear view mirror, and decided to bear it for the good of Mr. Boyd and his Family.
 
The Gathering at The Bevos was, as expected, awkward and tense.  Food and drinks were served, and Mr. Bevo and his wife had done their best to create a casual party atmosphere, but the evening’s very unpleasant and possibly volatile topics had everyone uncomfortably on edge.
 
Twelve Neighbors, most being couples, attended The Gathering.  Most were concerned with defending Moe, and his reputation.  He was a Pillar of the Community.  Moe was a deacon of one of the largest Church’s in Cut-’n-Shoot.  He was active in the township’s politics, and had several friends in the police department.  He was above reproach, as far as The Twelve were concerned.
 
The Twelve also praised Mr. Boyd for being a good, open-hearted and generous man.
 
Irma Lou was impressed with the way Abraham co-led the discussion with Mr. Bevo, and assured everyone that the police would not be involved unless Moe refused to return his dad’s $125,000.00.
 
Abraham also made his dad’s impaired judgment and poor short-term memory, due to his numerous mini-strokes, clear to everyone at The Gathering.
 
Irma Lou could tell that a few of The Twelve Neighbors were unaware of Mr. Boyd’s physical ailments and weaknesses regarding some of his thought processes, because, as they said, ‘he was still his usual Life-of-the-Party-Self whenever he interacted with them‘.
 
Overall, The Gathering, went as well as could be expected, but the unease of The Twelve Neighbors was still palpable when Abraham, Franklin and Irma Lou left The Bevo’s home, and returned to Mr. Boyd’s.
 
Three weeks later, Mr. Moe, reluctantly returned Mr. Boyd’s $125,000.00 to Mr. Boyd’s bank account.
 
Abraham informed Irma Lou that he wanted her to limit Moe’s visits and time with his dad, and that he only wanted Moe to visit Mr. Boyd when Irma Lou, herself, was at the house taking care of his dad.  And that Moe was to never be left alone with his dad under any circumstances.
 
Irma Lou promised to do as Abraham requested, and informed her organization’s director of Abraham and Franklin’s wishes.
 
A week later, Mr. Bevo called Mr. Boyd, and invited him and Irma Lou to a Birthday Party being held for one of The Twelve at the nearby What-a-Burger.
 
Irma Lou said that she had to run Mr. Bevo’s request by Abraham and Franklin before she could give him a definitive answer.
 
Abraham and Franklin agreed to the party invitation, but only if Moe, who did not live in Moon Beam Mecca, was not in attendance.
 
Mr. Bevo promised that Moe would not be invited to the event.
 
So, Irma Lou got Mr. Boyd dressed up for the Birthday Party, and drove him to the What-a-Burger to spend time with his Friends and Neighbors.
 
Irma Lou, walked Mr. Boyd into the restaurant, and got him comfortably seated, before she left the restaurant in order to wait in her van, which was parked just outside in the What-a-Burger‘s parking lot, for the end of the Party. 
 
Many of the Twelve Neighbors, who used to be warmly friendly toward Irma Lou, were no longer so warm or friendly since The Gathering had taken place. As a result, Irma Lou felt it better for her to wait outside for Mr. Boyd until the Birthday Party was over.  She did not want to have to worry about any possible unpleasantness, and wanted Mr. Boyd to enjoy himself.  Then Irma Lou planned to re-enter the restaurant, and get him ready for the return to his home. 
 
Irma Lou truly wished for them all to be able to have a good time together, just as they had in the past, without any distractions or bad feelings.  That was the most important thing.
 
While awaiting the Birthday Party’s end, Irma sat in her burgundy van reading a book, and listening to classical music.
 
During one of the many times that she glanced up to check on Mr. Boyd and the Birthday Party’s progress, Irma Lou was shocked and dismayed to see the infamous Mr. Moe walk boldly into the What-a-Burger.
 
Irma Lou placed her book mark into her novel, and turned off her van’s radio before quickly re-entering the What-a-Burger.
 
After undergoing The Twelve’s and Mr. Moe’s displeasure over her retrieval and removal of Mr. Boyd from the restaurant.  And Mr. Boyd’s chastisement of her because, ”he was happy to see his good friend, Moe”, Irma Lou got Mr. Boyd into her van and delivered him safely back home.
 
Irma Lou calmed Mr. Boyd down, by joking around with him on other topics, and getting out the Rummikub board game that he was so fond of, and cutting him a piece of the homemade apple pie she had put together for him earlier that day.
 
Mr. Boyd was always up for a game of Rummikub, and a large piece of apple pie to scarf down with a cold glass of milk.  It put a smile on his handsome face every time.
 
However, during the game, Irma Lou got another unexpected earful regarding The Twelve and Mr. Moe.
 
Mr. Boyd began ruminating over all of the fuss that had been made of the money that he had given Mr. Moe.  He informed Irma Lou that for the past five years that he had given the majority of The Twelve Neighbors and Friends, and Mr. Moe’s troubled son and his family, hundreds and thousands of dollars for one thing or another or one trip or dilemma or another.
 
Suddenly, The Gathering and many other things fell into place for Irma Lou.
 
Irma Lou had to come to terms with the fact that her Love for Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha was going to ironically wend up protecting Mr. Moe and The Twelve Neighbors and Friends from any legal punishments or consequences for their unethical and immoral behaviors toward them, as she did everything in her power to protect Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha from discovering the Real and Cruelly Crushing Truths about their ’Friendly and Neighborly’ Mr. Moe and The Twelve Neighbors and Friends.
 
Once again, after Irma Lou read Mr. Boyd to sleep, she immediately phoned Abraham, who rang up Franklin, and new plans for safeguarding Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha began to be set into motion.
 
A little over two weeks later, Abraham and Franklin were given some type of legal Guardianship regarding Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha.
 
Abraham and Franklin asked Irma Lou to help in persuading Mr. Boyd to move into the very expensive, but well run private Home Mrs. Martha was already living in.
 
Mr. Boyd, at first, stubbornly wanted Mrs. Martha to return to their Home to be with him, but over time, finally agreed to leave his Moon Beam Mecca home, in order to be with his ’beautiful Martha’ at The Bethany House.
 
Mrs. Martha’s erratic and volatile behaviors had been adequately brought under control through therapies and special medications, and she, too, longed to be reunited with her handsome, Life-of-the-Party, and apple-of-her-eye, Mr. Boyd.
 
Abraham and Franklin, at Irma Lou’s suggestion, informed the owners and directors of The Bethany House that Mr. Moe and The Twelve were never to be allowed to see their dad alone.  That someone was to always be with them and their dad, any time they came by to visit him.  And that they wanted Irma Lou to be allowed to spend two hours or more every five days of the week with their parents.
 
Irma Lou agreed to continue to watch over, and work with Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha for a while longer, because she wanted to make sure that Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha remained protected from the darkly selfish and wily wills of Mr. Moe and The Twelve Neighbors and Friends.
 
During the next few months, Mr. Moe and The Twelve formed a War Party and misused and abused their personal power by slinging slanderous and libelous sticks, stones and arrows carrying poisonous lies and innuendos at Irma Lou’s reputation, throughout their circles in Moon Beam Mecca and Cut-’n-Shoot.
 
Irma Lou weathered the reputation storms as best she could and often found herself thinking about how complicated Relationships can be.  And how Ethics and Morals can be entangling and entangled sticky Webs for complicated situations and relationships.
 
Irma Lou also Understood that sometimes in Life a Person has to Lose a few Games of Rummikub in order for the One’s you’re Protecting, Nurturing and Sustaining to Win.  That there are times when Losing is Winning and Winning is essentially a Loss.
 
Mr. Boyd loved Mr. Moe and The Twelve as his ever Faithful and Loyal Friends and Neighbors, and really enjoyed their company.  And to varying degrees Mr. Moe and The Twelve more than likely felt the same toward Mr. Boyd.  Wins and Losses and Losses and Wins.
 
In order to protect Mr. Boyd from any further harm, because of his fragile state of being, from the harsh Realities of what those very Relationships and Friendships had wrought, his and Mrs. Martha’s life had undergone some very profound changes.
 
Irma Lou continued to Dutifully and Lovingly look after and safeguard Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Martha for a few more months, until her organizational director called, and requested her to work with another ’at home’ couple who were needing her specific services.
 
Irma Lou agreed, and after hugging Mr. Boyd, Mrs. Martha, Abraham and Franklin ‘good-bye’, she moved on to her next set of responsibilities and duties, recognizing the fact that the Web of Fate can be rather expansive and surprisingly beautiful on sunlit days.  And a Soul must continue to Walk toward Sunlit Days.


   
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