“Hi! I’m Mr. Ed,” my seatmate says to me as we begin a four-hour flight to Phoenix. “Like the talking horse,” he continues. “Remember that TV show?” “Oh, Yes,” I assure him and I do.
Now I’m a talker. I was constantly scolded for talking in class and my grandmother even nicknamed me, “chatterbox.” However, I was no match for Mr. Ed, who even at 87, manages to fill every, solitary, single second with a burbling fountain of gushing words. But oh, what stories he has to tell!
Ed signed up for the army at 17 and fought in the famous Chosin reservoir battle. “We were cut off by over 200,000 Chinese. 120 of us went over but only 18 of us came home. The rest froze to death. I took a hat with earmuffs from a dead Chinese soldier. That’s why I made it through those six months.”
I learn that Ed is one of 13 children and worked for General Motors for 30 years. He’s had both of his knees replaced twice and loves fishing. His wife has Alzheimer’s and is now in a nursing home. “It’s okay she doesn’t know my name,” he confides, “cuz she still knows I’m her husband.”
Ed laughs at his own stories and so do I.
“My buddy’s wife didn’t like football. So he sits her down one day to watch his favorite quarterback, Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw gets sacked. When they show the instant replay, the guy’s wife screams, “Run, sucker run! They’re gonna get you again!!”
“My body is like one of those old cars you have to push up a hill to jumpstart. Once it starts you gotta keep it going.”
“I took one of those Selfie things and boy was I shocked! Those wrinkles must just come in the night cuz I sure don’t remember them growing when I’m awake!”
Mr. Ed also preaches in prisons. Recently, when he told the men that, “God knows the day you will die,” one of the inmates, Big John, said, “So, God knows when I’m gonna die, huh? Well what if I walk in front of a truck right now?” “Don’t worry,” Mr. Ed assured him, “God knows you’re stupid, too!”
As we part, he says, “Now remember, Chatterbox, the best thing you can do for yourself is what you do for others.” Carry on Mr. Ed!