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Mr. and Mrs. Pike

He backed his lawn tractor from the garage, stopped, switched the shift lever to forward, traveled ahead cutting a half moon turn toward the road, stopped, then backed to within two feet of his house.

Bucket and squeegee in hand he climbed up on the wooden toolbox firmly fixed to the rear of his lawn tractor. He did not use his cane. He wiped the window with a wet cloth then pulled the squeegee flush down the pane. The end of each pull elicited a slight mouse-like squeak.

He didn't interrupt his work to turn and visit.

I ferried two meals through a large garage door opening and stepped onto a raised three by three foot pad of concrete, a landing, built to cut in half the distance from the garage floor to the door opening. A square of carpet lay on the neatly swept concrete pad. The carpet is old, but has retained most of it's original color and cushion.

Two knocks on the door and his wife of seventy years calls to me. "Come in," Ora Pike says, sitting in her chair at the far end of their one level home, facing him, watching him spring clean.

"Rusty?"

"Yes, Mrs. Pike, it's me. Meals on Wheels. I see Mr. Pike's cleaning the windows huh?"

"Yes he is. You know, back in seventy-one, when he had his accident, your father called and asked what he might do to help. I said, well, you can come clean the windows."

I placed two shrink-wrapped platters with Spanish rice, green beans, and corn, on the clean-as-can-be circa nineteen fifties kitchen table. When I considered a relevant period of time had passed since Mrs. Pike finished her thought, I threw my voice toward her direction, "did he?"

"Yes he did. He came down and cleaned them."

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