New fiction

So Long, Chester Wheeler

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Lewis Madigan’s elderly neighbor Chester Wheeler is dying of cancer. Several of his home healthcare aides have quit. Chester is a very difficult person to be around for a variety of reasons, and his family will not take care of him. Chester’s daughter Ellie is desperate to find someone to take the job and finally convinces Lewis to give it a try. Lewis is desperate for money and Ellie has promised a generous paycheck.

Lewis is good with Chester. He ignores a lot and hollers back at Chester. Chester has a final trip in mind and Lewis agrees to drive Chester’s old Winnebago cross county to visit his ex-wife. After many difficult days of traveling, the pair finally make it to Sue’s home, but she refuses to talk to Chester and refuses to allow him in her home. With Lewis’ help, Sue and Chester are able to talk things over. Before heading back home, Sue suggests that they travel to visit Chester’s friend Mike. They served together in Vietnam and have things to talk over.

On the way back home, Chester dies.

Home healthcare aide becomes Lewis’ new profession. He eventually decides to become a nurse but promises not to quit helping another very difficult patient. His schooling is placed on hold for a time to fulfill his promise.



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