The first time I met Uma she was in a wheelchair. I didn’t know why at the time, and felt it was one of those things you just don’t ask. If I knew her as well as I do now, I would have asked, “Uma, why are you in a wheelchair?”

I came in through the open garage door looking for Dani, knowing she was inside the house somewhere. But Uma was in the doorway in her wheelchair and I couldn’t get in. I told her I was Dani’s husband and she started telling me about how she was in the attic looking through the Christmas stuff for something and fell through the attic. Her Indian accent made it a little hard to comprehend what she was saying, plus the sudden offhanded discussion and the only thing I could come up with was, “You fell through the attic?”

She said, “Yes!”

Still a little baffled by it all, I asked, “So, in the house?”

She said, “No, right there.” as she pointed to the garage floor right in front of her wheelchair. Damn, I thought. Looking up at the ceiling in the attic, I realized she fell a long way.

The only thing I could think of to say, “Oh my! How bad were you hurt?” She said, “I was on the floor for several hours until my husband came looking for me.”

She also said something about her phone that I didn’t really understand. So, it turned out her being in a wheelchair was just temporarily, which was good.

So, jump forward to the day I sat and visited with the family for the first time. Kris was sitting next to me in his wheelchair, and Uma was sitting in her wheelchair even though she no longer needed to. Dani was sitting on the couch and Raji was sitting in a chair across from me. Raji’s two beautiful little girls were dragging toys out, while doing their best to avoid me.

Raji asked me what I do for a living, and I told her I am retired. I thought about using my usual joke about being “retarded, er, retired”, but since these were doctors, I thought best not to.

“Okay, so what did you do?”

“I worked for the State Department.”

“So, what did you do?”

Remembering my daughter’s stepson, Stone, I told them what he thought I did.

“I killed people.”

It was the strangest thing to see. Raji burst out laughing falling backward and Uma was about to fall out of her wheelchair. Kris just chuckled as well as Dani, but she was laughing at watching them instead of what I said. The two little girls stopped for a moment to see what was happening, then continued with their task of making a mess.

It was at this time, I truly wished I did kill people for a living, making the conversation completely ironic.

When things subsided, Kris and I started asking each other what countries we visited. When we got to the African continent, I told them how I was sent to Pretoria, South Africa to get a hernia fixed. I knew since these were doctors, they would understand the story better than most.

I explained how I blew out a hernia lifting a small safe in Ethiopia, so they sent me to Pretoria to get it fixed. The German doctor looked at my hernia and said, “Yeah, I can fix that. I’ll fix your belly button too.”

“What’s wrong with my belly button?”

“It’s herniated. See how it’s sticking out?”

“I just thought I was fat.”

“No, It’s herniated.”

“So I’m not fat?”

“It’s herniated. I’ll fix it. No charge.”

They all chuckled, each of them seeing the joke from the point of view of a doctor, instead of the patient.

These people are a delight to visit with. God has given this job to Dani for so many reasons. Much more to tell later.