says Sandy in the kitchen as I head for the gym.
“Are you headed off to the fat farm again?”
It’s 6am. Everyone in the house is asleep, except for Sandy and me and 40 species of bird outside.
He nicknamed me Peeker about 3 weeks ago.
“These names have a way of sticking,”
“Ya ya, you’ll forget by lunch.”
We laugh, until he forgets at lunch.
“What was it I was calling her again?”
He whispers to Katie, and then he’s on another roll until dinner.
The next day, I wrote “Peeker” on the calendar for the days I cook for him. I’ve been Peeker ever since.
he says every time we pass.
“Have you caught a live one yet?”
He knows that’s a soft spot for me since NO one mentioned how short the men are in this tiny town!
He calls me Peeker because I was passing his room on the way to Katie’s one morning and he was standing there on one leg, the other in his jeans, head to toe long blue underwear.
“Oh and right in front of the door.”
I gasp as I pass.
“Well, you were peeking,”
he replies before his foot hits the ground.
Katie sits up in bed laughing.
“No, I wasn’t.”
I yell down the hall.
“Yes, you were,”
he yells back quicker than me.
“It takes one to know one,”
“I’m getting thicker blinds,”
Monday at Thrifty’s, Sandy says,
“Just pull over and I’ll jump out here while you find parking.”
“But I’d pay money to watch you jump.”
“So would I,”
he says as he sturdies himself on the two bent legs in front of him.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife
Or lead his ass to slaughter.
Thank God it is not a sin
To covet thy neighbour’s daughter.”
In line for groceries is never Sandy’s quiet time.
When I first moved in, Sandy was getting skinnier and Katie was concerned. Today, I walk by him in his recliner, and just above the heads of his three dogs, I see a little belly poking out over his belt, the last button struggling to hold on.
“Wow, you’re getting a belly. Maybe I should take you to the fat farm with me.”
We laugh, but when I repeat this to Joan an hour later, he gives me the three finger salute and rolls his eyes in his my-mother-would-never-say-that manner.
Next, I tell her Sandy was wondering if she had any more pants he could borrow, outing him on a joke about wearing her old jean cast offs.
She gives him the evil eye and leaves the room.
His eyes in disbelief and the volcano of funny erupting,
“Nope. Still not funny,”
I say, and we yuck it up again.
“Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone,”
“Come on now,”
“We both know it’s ‘Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and Katie will cry with you.”
Perched outside in his Cowichan sweater, Sandy is a social bird.
“I love you, Dad,”
says Katie, returned from the mainland.
Loud laughing, the two year-old smiles.
“Dad, I’m so glad you get to spend time with my best friend,”
And she takes this picture.
“You’re a dirty, old woman,”
Inside with Alyssa while she eats noodles and listens to Katie and Sandy laugh outside.
“People around here like to laugh,”
“Lots of happy people.”