I hadn't seen my friend for a long while. I tried this rather banal question as an opener. "It went," was his terse reply.
I tried again. "What have you been up to?"
I was prepared for a recital of commonplace events. Instead he told me his wife had just died. "When?" was all I could think of to say.
"Three days ago."
I was so stunned to hear this that that I didn't know what to say. He went on. Maybe he needed to talk, and so I just listened.
"Before they closed the lid I had a few moments alone with her. I didn't want to remember her dead face. I just looked at her hands. She had large hands, but like a baby's, with dimples where her knuckles should have been.
"I thought of all the things she had done with those hands. She had played the piano so well. At a computer store the customers gathered around to watch her type with incredible speed. She could do archery and was a deadly shot with my 870 shotgun.
"She had done so much so well. Her pots and pans are going to stay on their hooks in the kitchen. I couldn't bear to give them away. She could cook anything, but desserts were her specialty. She made wonderful cakes and a cranberry dessert that was so good that little kids asked for more.
"Most of all I thought of all the things she had done for me."
He paused and I decided to remain silent and leave him to his thought. I knew he was a man of faith. Maybe we could talk about that. "I hope you find comfort in your faith," I said. He seemed to brighten at my comment and I was encouraged.
"Yes," he went on. "My faith is the only thing that keeps me going."
I tried, but I could not follow what he talked about next. In fact, I could not believe what he was saying.
"I have hope. Radiation is circling the globe. There's Japan, of course, ruining the air and the sea.. Chernobyl is still poisoning Europe. Then there are the Chemtrails. When's the last time you saw a really blue sky? We had 'em all the time when I was a kid."
Since I saw absolutely no conection with these things and his faith, I concluded he had become deranged by his grief.
He went on. "The economy will soon drag us down until there will only be two classes, ultra rich and their servants."
I tried once more. "Tell me about the comfort you have from your faith."
He actually smiled as he told me that Jesus promised His church that He would return to take them to heaven before the biggest trouble of all. I thought I understood. "I can see how that makes you happy," I told him.
"Happy,"\he said, "and impatient! I want to cry out. 'When O Lord, how soon will it be?'"