Today I put a Band-Aid in my wallet—just in case. Just in case the one I am currently wearing falls off, or I catch another finger on a latch and need to staunch the blood. Just in case a stranger cuts herself or a small child with a minor bump can be comforted by the attention.
This new behavior is my maiden foray into ‘just-in-case.’ I only start now because, as more dependable resources have failed me, I find I must.
George began each day with two Band Aids, never fewer—but never more. Two Band-Aids allowed him to use one and still have a spare. Sometimes I—whose obstinate optimism once assumed nothing bad would happen—wondered at a man who planned for bloody scratches and gaping wounds. Yet the regular replenishment of his portable supply proved his realism was more accurate than my naiveté.
I was often the beneficiary of his careful planning, but I was not the only one. When a long walk at the Dallas arboretum produced an ouch-y blister on a tiny heel, it was the handy Band-Aid from Papa’s wallet that saved the day. When a three year old, whose name we never learned, skinned his knee at the Baton Rouge Zoo, a quick rinse from a water bottle and a bandage from the pocket got another family on its way. I witnessed the distribution of his Band-Aids from Disneyworld to the Grand Canyon and in Haiti and a few European countries. He gave them to small children, young adults and aging grandparents—although I seldom saw him use one on himself.
‘Ready-for-any-emergency’ was the familiar refrain of my life’s companion. In addition to packing Band-Aids in his wallet, he discreetly carried an array of tools compactly packaged as a knife, making him ever ready to remove splinters, trim a painful hangnail or triage a myriad of minor wounds. To my knowledge he was never a Boy Scout, but he must have shared DNA with whoever wrote their manual.
In this is love—the continual desire to provide for other people and the persistence to make it happen.