Pancho needs your prayers it’s true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He only did what he had to do,
And now he’s growing old
— the prophet van zandt
OK if I bring my backpack along?
The guy shrugs. You can leave it in the locker and take the key with you, he suggests.
OK if I bring it anyhow? He relents.
It’s a long story, I want to tell him. He’s my trusted companion. First serious pack I ever had, back in the days when Ultimate Direction was a baby company. Back when hydration vest meant a couple of side holders for 20-ounce bottles. We ran across Texas together. He came along for the Reno-San Fran thing. He toted my clothes for a couple of years when I was doing the daily run to work and back because I had no car. Zane Grey, top of Big Bend, Tour de Southern Utah. We had some adventures.
This is just another one. I need him.
He sits next to me in the little room while I get nuclearized. The sign says to tell the tech if you’re pregnant. I solemnly inform the guy that I don’t think I am. He says thanks and writes something down. Likely “rotate needle as painfully as possible when removing.”
He takes me to the little room where I wait for an hour. The backpack curls up on top of me while we nap. You’re never too old to have a teddy bear, I suspect.
He goes with me into the scary room and sits in a little chair next to me during the pet scan. Why does your nose always start to itch the moment you’re told to remain perfectly still? He would scratch it except for that whole lack of opposable thumbs thing.
And then, it’s over. He hands me my phone and my keys. We change out of our sick guy jammies and back into the fearless Gramiccis. The three of us head out into the afternoon sun. On to the next adventure.