The case of the missing cane

Susan Manzke
Bob has no need for his cane when driving his tractor, only when he gets off.

Everyone asks “How’s Bob doing?” He’s doing great. Twice a day he takes his Chemo drugs to keep his cancer at bay. We are diligent at the timing of these pills so we don’t risk his recovery.

During the day, my husband is very active. Most times I can’t keep up with him, even when he’s using his cane.

The cane is more for balance for Bob, not because of his wonky hip. In the house, he usually doesn’t use the cane. Because he’s doing so well, Bob often walks away from his cane.

 A couple of days ago, Bob couldn’t find his cane and he didn’t have a clue where he left it. Now that he’s mobile, it could have been anywhere.

First, Bob checked the usual places he had hung his cane in the past. We checked every door, as he has hooked it over doorknobs in his office, the bathroom, closets, and really any doorknob in the house. We checked upstairs, even though he doesn’t carry it upstairs because his extra cane is there. Still, he forgets so we looked there and every corner of the house where he might have stopped and sat. No cane was found.

After searching the house, Bob checked the cars, the carts, and pickup. Nothing.

Where oh where could that cane have gone?

Bob went to check his tractor. He’s been using his MF tractor and loader to get down our lane to affix our infrared camera to a particular tree where we snap photos of wildlife. He hadn’t left the cane on the hood either.

Bob reenacts working on the car and losing his cane.

Maybe he hung it somewhere he parked the tractor or the cart. Bob checked out his spots in the barns and sheds. Maybe it had fallen off the tractor when he was driving down the lane. We hunted the length of the lane, too. Nada.

After Bob looked in the buildings, I searched the same spots, too. It had to be someplace. It hadn’t walked off on its own. No one else would have taken it—Bob did offer it to me one day when I was limping around after twisting my knee, but I didn’t take his as I have my own.

Anyway, the case of the missing cane was confounding both of us.

Bob’s cane was gone one day, then two. He refused to use his backup cane from upstairs. Since he was getting along without it, my husband said he didn’t need a cane anymore. Except for last night.

After taking a cart ride with Sunny down the lane as far as the mosquitoes would let us go, we parked the cart in the shed. I saw that our chickens had gone in to roost. It was time to lock them in for the night. I handed Bob Sunny’s lead and went thirty feet away to shut the door.

It took me a minute because three of our pullets were roosting on top of the door and I had to shake them off to get them inside. I thought Bob and Sunny hadn’t waited for me and gone to the house. To my surprise, I found Bob on the ground.

He had lost his balance when trying to move Sunny. “It wasn’t the dog’s fault,” said Bob. “I went to move back and the upper half of me was faster than my feet and I went over.”

Bob needed a 5-gallon bucket to boost himself off the ground. I got that for him and after he was standing we three walked into the house with me shaking my head all the way.

I was going to have another look around for his cane. Maybe he had set it under the car hood when checking the oil.

If we had only turned around sooner, we would have found Bob’s cane the first day.

Eureka! I found it, not under the hood, but hanging on the fence in front of the car. Case solved.

Bob says he doesn’t need the cane anymore, but he humors me and takes it when he has some extra walking to do. That way I feel safe.

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;