Ruby Gordon is Dead

Last year I accepted the call to solicit donations on behalf of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. While on my route I met a nice elderly couple that live just down the street on the other side of the back alley from my house – the Gordons. I felt guilty for making her get out of her chair (she looked so comforable), but once she was up and answered the door both she and her husband were very kind. Nice people I thought and then moved on.

The collection process as a whole wasn’t that bad but the donations were slow and I was worried that I wouldn’t have much to show for the effort. Besides it was cold and meanwhile I couldn’t help but think that I had better things to do in my nice warm house. I swore I would not be doing this again next year.

I’m not sure what happened, I thought to myself as I knocked on another door about three weeks ago. Well I suppose I don’t really have anything better to do and the donations seem to be coming along nicely – plus it’s not nearly as cold as last year. I again knocked on the same houses in the vicinity of my block and again was greeted by Mrs. Gordon. She looked old and tired. I again felt guilty for making her get out of her chair. Her husband was not around and she looked much more frail than I remembered. She gladly donated ten dollars to the fund and made small talk. Her husband had died about a month after the last time I was there, which was exactly one year ago. Wow, I thought, he looked fine. I didn’t know what to say, I just thanked her for the donation and wished her a good evening. Thank you, she said. I kind of felt like I should do something more for her. She seemed so lonely, but what would I do? It’s not like I can just pop over there and say hi, I mean I’m 24 and have nothing in common with her. As it turns out I’ll never have a chance to talk to her again. I was told that her name was in today’s obituary section of the paper.

“Really? Ruby Gordon that lives right over there?” I asked my next-door neighbour.

“Yes it was in the paper this morning.” she explained.

I scratched at the dried remnants of duct tape on my porch. The previous owner of the house let his son Stewart live here. Stewart was an activist. He had taped up ropes around the back yard to use as drying lines for paper machie masks. The masks were for protesting at the G8 conference in Calgary a few years ago. For their protest they wanted to strip down to illuminate the evils of The Gap but I guess they didn’t want to do so while showing their faces.

“You know who else died?” asked my neighbour, “Stewart’s father, Hugh.”

“Really? Hugh Crawford?” I repeated back. It was kind of a shock. The man I bought this house from? Dead? Well I guess he won’t be coming for that box of receipts that I saved for him for over a year. It was garbage anyway – I don’t why he had me save it.

“He passed away about 6 or so weeks ago,” she explained, “heart problems of some sort. He was in his early 50’s.”

It got me thinking about life and death and how it’s all so fleeting. Apparently it doesn’t take much for the old ticker to quit ticking, so I suppose this just shows that it’s in my own best interest to keep canvassing again next year because you never know, you know?

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