By Eric Poor

Once again I’ve dug out the cane. I hurt my back, which spawned some occasionally intense sciatic nerve pain in my left butt cheek. I’m thinking using the cane to favor my left leg might help. This simple wooden cane was already old when I acquired it back in the 1970’s. That’s when I broke my left foot the first time.

Back then my foot decided it wasn’t a match for a combination of beer, inadequate footwear and basketball. A metatarsal snapped. I spent some time on crutches – up to the point where a cane seemed more appropriate. I knew just the place to get a bargain.

Ruby Rice lived on Thomas Road here in Rindge and she kept a barn full of bargains. A lot of what the late Ed Stevens couldn’t sell at his weekly West Rindge auction in the old grange building ended up in Ruby’s barn. If you wanted something like a perfectly good bright orange couch you were likely to find one in Ruby’s barn.

Any other time I could have bought a cane from Ruby for half a buck. But she knew she had me when I showed up on crutches. Ruby could drive a hard bargain and that cane cost me five dollars, which was still cheaper than anywhere else.

Once my foot healed I put that cane in the umbrella stand on the porch. That umbrella stand is a spent 90 millimeter cannon round I acquired during my time as a tank commander. It’s brass, which means it was a high explosive round. It holds my cane, a couple walking sticks and the occasional umbrella.

Good thing I held onto that cane because I went and broke my left foot again, splitting the heel bone this time. That’s when I realized that maybe I’d got a bargain cane after all. If Ruby hadn’t sold out and moved away I’d have stopped by to let her know as much. Sadly, she’s since passed away so she’ll never know.

A couple years ago I was giving the chain saw a workout when I stepped on the edge of a stump and took a tumble, spraining my left ankle pretty good in the process. Sure enough, that cane came in handy once again.

And here I am, employing it yet again to take the weight off that left leg. I’m feeling like maybe I’ve just about got my money’s worth out of that old cane.

Won’t be long before I’m ahead of the game, Ruby.