who is my neighbor

My day hasn't been nearly as eventful as Eric's, but I did get the opportunity to be a neighbor in the Biblical sense of the word--me and four other people.

I was heading toward home about noon and approaching the intersection of Highland and Beech streets about a block and a half from my house. I noticed three people standing at the curb, a woman and two men, with hands joined as if they were preparing to play ring around the rosy. Getting closer, I noticed two of them were holding up the third, an older man. It was obvious that he would not have been standing without their support. I pulled to a stop across the street as they eased the man to the ground. A fourth person was running toward us, having parked in a driveway a few feet down the block.

The older man, his name was Robert, had fallen while taking a walk. The two passerby saw him sprawled on the ground and helped him up only to find that he couldn't stand on his own. My wife said later that she has seen Robert walking many times and he always looks as if he is about to fall.

The fourth person whipped out a cell phone and called 911. The dispatcher must have asked her for a location because she looked over at me. "Where are we?"

"Beech and Highland," I said.

Meanwhile on the ground, Robert said he wanted to get up. His helpers, whose names I never learned, were convincing him through the use of gentle physical pressure to stay where he was.

"Shall we call his wife?" asked the woman with the cell phone. Robert said we should and that his wife's name was Julia. He gave us a number which turned out to be wrong. Amazingly, he trusted us to search his wallet but it was no help. We asked him the number again, and he recited it. It was different this time, and corrrect. As this happened the other man, who had been kneeling half in the roadway in the path of oncoming traffic, excused himself and left.

"Hi, is this Julia? My name is Donna..." she said and began explaining the situation. Julia said she would be right there. The woman holding Robert up looked like she was getting tired. Just as I offered to spell her, I noticed EMT's standing above us. They had arrived in less than two minutes. The woman who had held Robert in a seated position now asked if it was okay for her to go. "God bless you Robert," she said as she left. "And you too," said Robert.

As the EMT's attended to Robert, I walked to the corner to look for Julia. Apparently, they lived only a block away, and half a block from me. I saw her way down the street, walking slowly.

"She's walking!" I said; I had thought she would drive over. I hopped in my car and drove over to pick her up. Despite having a much younger man in mirrored sunglasses pull up in a convertible and say, "Are you Julia? Hop in," she did.

By the time Julia and I pulled up, Robert was perusing a waiver he needed to sign. He had refused a trip to the hospital. The EMT's did manage to get him to agree to a ride home.

As they wheeled Robert to the ambulance, Julia introduced herself to Donna. "I'll be praying for you and Robert," said Donna.

"Thank you Donna. I believe in prayer."

"Prayer is powerful," said Donna.

Julia turned to me. "Where do you live?"

"About a block away from you," I said. "Do you know Jeno?" Jeno is my next door neighbor, a very gracious and very elderly man who has lived there forever. "We've lived here for years and I don't know many of the new people," Julia said.

"Can I have your address and phone number," she asked. I wrote it down on the back of a copy of Robert's refusal form.

"If you see me out working in the garden," she said, "stop by!" And then she turned to go grab a ride home with her husband.

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