The other day, My First Wife and I were in the mall when she spied a familiar-looking face walking toward us. (The face wasn’t walking; it was a familiar-looking person.) His head hung, tired-like. He walked slowly with a distinct and heavy limp, cane in hand.
“Izzy? Izzy!” My First Wife shouted. “Izzy Fulible, it’s me: Chancie!”
Izzy looked up, then he lit up when he saw Chancie. “Well, lookee there!” He broke into quite the smile, opened his arms and the two of them shared a hearty hug. “Aren’t you the pretty one! You’re pretty as you ever were. How you doing?”
“Oh, thank you,” she said. “You’re not so bad looking either. How are you?”
“Pretty good. Who’s the lucky guy?” he asked, pointing to me. He stretched out his hand, which I took and shook.
“This is my husband, Paul.”
“Well, I was heading down to get me a cup of joe,” he said. “Can I buy you a cuppa coffee? Got time? We can catch up a little. Jeez! When’s the last time I saw you?”
We began our trek to the food court. The banter between the two heated up, leaving me to tag along. Chancie and Izzy graduated together in Georgia, far from the Heart of America. “How long have you lived here…?” “What kind of work…?” "Kids? Grandkids?" Izzy limped along pretty hard. In the food court, he sat down with a loud, heavy sigh. “Aaaah!”
I got the coffee for all of us and delivered it. Chancie and Izzy were still buzzing. After her first sip of coffee, Chancie asked directly: “Izzy, why the cane? What’s with the limp.”
“Aah, that’s nothing,” he said. “It a hockey injury down here on my ankle. Got it several years ago.”
“Really? I didn’t know you played hockey,” Chancie said. My mind started racing. I like watching hockey when I can catch it on TV. I don’t know all the players, but my mind couldn’t place the name Izzy Fulible.
“It only bothers me when the weather turns cold.”
“Well, that’s too bad,” Chancie said. “How long ago?”
“Oh, it was in during the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1988.”
“Stanley Cup?” I asked. “You played for the Stanley Cup?” I suddenly felt like I was in the presence of greatness. Or at least really coolness.
“Well, in that match," he went on, "I lost a hundred bucks and hurt my ankle when I kicked in my TV screen!”