It was my second day on the job for the Tamworth Community Nurse Association; I didn't know anyone in town, much less where they lived. But, I met someone that day I came to know and love well, and spent a fair amount of time with over the next few years. It was a hot July day, and Marge Mather came into the office after delivering Meals on Wheels. She mentioned a gentleman named Carroll O. Grace. Carroll was a stay-at-home and his legs were awfully swollen; she thought I should go have a visit with him. Well, of course I gave him a call, explained I was the new visiting nurse, and asked if I could drop by. Marge and June Donovan gave me directions, and off I went. I found Carroll's house; nestled in at the bottom of the hill on Turkey Street. When I knocked, he hollered for me to come in. Then, as I stepped through the door, he said "Stop right there!" So, I did. Pointing at me with a tar-stained finger, he barked, "If you're going to tell me to stop smokin' and drinkin' just turn around and get the *%#@ out now." I paused and then quietly told him I had absolutely no intention of telling him to stop drinkin' and smokin' I just wanted to see if he was okay. He responded by telling me to "come on in and sit over there". He directed me to a chair in the corner of the hot, stuffy, smoke-filled room. "Don't touch anything," he said. "Just tell me about yourself." And, so I did. That was my first of many visits with Carroll. I told him about myself and I learned a lot about his life. He told me about his career as a hunting guide and shared stories too colorful to put into print! He became one of my first friends in our town. He taught me how to bake beans, and I helped him learn to live with cancer. That seems to be how it works up here - people help people. Carroll Grace was a great guy. Despite the fact that he lived alone in his little yellow house, we were able to give him support systems that kept him in the home he loved until a few days before he died. That was three years ago and I still miss him, to this day. ~J.R.
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