The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

The Taxi Ride.

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The following true story was told by a taxi driver.

“I arrived at the address and blew my horn, but there was no reply so I got out and knocked at the door. After a few moments the door was opened by a frail old lady dressed all in black and wearing a wide brimmed black hat who looked like she had stepped straight out of a 1940’s movie. She was carrying what I think was called a carpet bag and a battered suitcase tied with string was just inside the door. The house looked like no one had lived there for years and looking into the lounge I saw that all the furniture was covered in sheets. “Would you mind carrying my case to the car,” she asked. I took her case and then returned to assist her into the car. She gave me the address, which was a local hospice, “I have cancer you know and the doctors haven’t given me very long.” she told me. We set off and she said, “Could we drive through the town first, I’d like to see some things for the last time.” I leaned over and turned the meter off and asked, “What route would you like me to take?” For the next one and a
half hours we drove round the city, she showed me the building where she once worked as a lift operator; we drove through the area where she and her husband had lived as newlyweds and she asked me to stop in front of a large furniture warehouse which had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a young girl. Sometimes she would ask me to slow down in front of a building or corner, but would say nothing.

Suddenly she said’ “I’m tired now, we had better be going.” We drove on in silence until we reached the hospice. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home with a long driveway leading up to the front door. A nurse came out almost as soon as the taxi stopped, they were obviously expecting her. I told her that the taxi fare had been paid and I gave her a big hug. “Thank you,” she said and squeezed my hand.

Behind me a door closed, it was the sound of a closing life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift, but drove round deep in thought. I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments, but great moments often catch us unaware, but beautifully wrapped in what others may consider to be a small one.”

“Sometimes, you have to take time to live, because living takes time.”

Published Fri 1st Mar 2013 16:05:32

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