Smokin’ Joe

I met Joe, my then future father-in-law, ten years ago. I was immediately smitten. We would sit outside watching the sun set on the blue mountains, sharing unfiltered Camel’s and chit-chatting the evening away. He always called me babe. When I was back home he would call me to just say hi. I loved his rugged way and yes his hick talk and swagger. He spent years teaching auto mechanics during the day and then working at his dad’s auto shop at night. He was always happy-go-lucky, do-anything-for-you Joe.

Then his kidney’s began to fail and he needed a transplant. To be on the transplant list he had to quit smoking. He smoked for sixty years and then one day he stopped while he waited to get a new kidney. Then they told him he couldn’t be on the list – his age, his previous bout with bladder cancer. He continued to not smoke but he barely even spoke when we would visit and more often-then-not just grumbled.

Joe gave up. He told us that he was going to stop dialysis soon. He hasn’t called me babe in years. Then my husband’s step-father had a heart attack – one of many. But this one has taken his heart down to working 35%. We have been visiting with him on this side of the state and we of course have been hanging out at Joe’s as well.

As I walked up the drive for our visit this time, Joe was sitting outside, no shirt and chain smoking. He stood up and grabbed me, saying “Hey babe!” And he was back. I’m not a proponent of smoking but I believe this little bit of tobacco and ash has brought my Joe back. He was more alive this visit than he’s been in years.

I didn’t have a smoke with him (motherhood broke me clean of that) but I took in all the “babe’s” he threw my way, beaming and so happy to have him back with us for a while.


One Response to “Smokin’ Joe”

  1. You MUST take more pictures of Joe-you SEE him. Seeing him through your eyes is an experience…

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