I was in the Rockport pool and observed and old dude stumbling along holding to the side. As I passed him I greeted him and welcomed him to our Pool. He mumbled something as I passed by that I did not comprehend, but simply continued on my way and he did the same thing. As I looped back around, I observed one of the young guards trying to get the man to put on a lift-belt to help him walk in the water. The guard soon gave up and laid the belt pool-side. When I finished my work-out I went over to the chairs to drip-dry for a while before going to my car. Soon the old fellow showed up and took a nearby chair. I soon learned that the gentleman had some sort of halt in his speech . . . and struggled to articulate what he wanted to communicate (I suspected a stroke). I soon learned:
- He was born in Lubbock;
- He grew up in Odessa;
- His name was Jack;
- He had lived in Alaska; and
- Had recently relocated to Rockport!
As we sat there and I struggled to comprehend what he really wanted to communicate, an older lady appeared and asked, “Where do I pay?” I directed her to the office window and told her the sweet lady there was named Lisa. In a bit the lady returned and took a seat nearby. I introduced myself and learned that her name was Jill and that she was Jack’s younger sister. As she talked, I learned the following:
- Jack had had a head injury as a kid resulting in some cognitive struggles;
- Jack had lived with their Mom until she passed away in ‘94;
- Jack had never married or had children; and
- Jill had gone to live in Alaska years ago and had come and collected Jack when their Mom had passed, and Jill had looked after him all of those years between.
I asked Jill if she originally went to Alaska with her husband on the pipeline. She let me know in short order that she did not follow a man . . . she went there alone. She said that she had been having a series of dreams about gold-nuggets and woke up one morning and decided that she had to follow that dream . . . her research showed that quest would take her to either Las Vegas or Alaska. Uncertain of the direction . . . she said she flipped a quarter into the air. She chuckled and said the coin said Las Vegas the first few times, but she stayed after it until Alaska finally won. Once she had clear direction she packed her bags, filled her truck up, and struck out . . . North to Alaska!
She told of learning to hunt and reaching into her bag removed a plastic photo album and showed some photos of her (much younger) standing by a small Black bear being skinned while hung from a tree. She also told of learning to fly and becoming a pilot. She showed photos of her standing beside her small plane. In her album she had photos of fish and game.
I concluded that Jill had been something of a pioneer woman . . . and prone to wander. She showed no signs of being intimidated by the unknown and talked of living in the wild and making her way while living off of the land.
I finally managed to free myself from my new pals, Jack and Jill, and made my way to my car but only after having first promised to drive Jill to Progresso, Mexico, to see the dentist.
What an interesting pair. Driving home I wondered what their folks were thinking when they named them Jack and Jill . . . do you suppose they had any notion that those silly kids would one day . . . ‘go up the hill’? I don’t know what their parents were thinking, but It Seems to Me . . . that they certainly managed to climb some hills (and I suspect it is quite likely several of those hills were of their own making).