Lupe

Every so often I get a ping, followed by a text message that reads like “This ride is actually for my father. He speaks very limited English, his name is Lupe”. I recognized the address as belonging to the hospital complex at Denver Health. I pulled into the pick up zone at a dialysis clinic. There he was smiling at me in a pretty frail body. He got in the car and we headed to the Park Hill district about 25 minutes away. He thanked me for picking him up. “My English is not so good”. “Well, I speak ‘Spanglish un poquito”. He laughed and asked me if I liked driving for Lyft. “I love it, it connects me with what’s going on. So what are you doing”, ( I had sort of put 2 and 2 together.) “Oh just 16 years of dialysis… my life is tv and reading, and my grandkids. I live with my daughter”. “Wow, 16 years, you are tough. Any chance of a transplant”? “I am on the list, but you know” he said with his strong accent and an air of resignation.

“So what did you do before all this”? “I drove a bus for 36 years in Juarez.

You know – El Paso”. “I have been all over Mexico , I spent the winter of

1970 running around there looking for Don Jaun”. (If you get it I won’t explain and if you don’t, that’s what google is for.) “Wow a bus driver in Mexico – that makes my Lyft driving look like riding a bike”. “I loved it”. “Six days a week”? “That’s right and Sunday for God” he said with a giant smile. “Now God gets everyday but I still worship on Sunday”. The conversation was like talking to some of the folk I used to connect with in the San Luis Valley. I told him about working with migrant workers in the health clinics. “I have a deep admiration for ‘mi amigos’ from Mexico. This is one gringo who is embarrassed by how you are put down by our President”. “Gracias, my friend. You could drive a bus”. “Nah, I am too old. Tell, God Hi tomorrow”. He grinned and reached across the seat to shake my hand. Lupe is a good man, Lord – help him get a new kidney.

Onward and Upward, Mark

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