Since around 6:00 this morning, I’ve had this urge, need (?) to write this. It’s taken this long (2 1/2 hours) to finalize – re-writes.
You see, a friend/neighbor of 16 years passed away, very early this morning. We all call each other “Neighbor” as in Hi Neighbor! (their kids included) He had been fighting brain cancer for about five years. His doctors were surprised at how well he had been doing and that he was still alive longer than originally predicted (two years – tops FIVE years ago).
Every year around this time he would be setting off fireworks (just a couple each night) from 6/30 to the 4th. If the local fireworks were on the weekend – because the 4th was during the week, he’d keep going and light the last of his “stash” after the “big show” was done. One year a neighbor across the street called the cops on us (on the 4th) for making too much noise. The police were very nice about it, actually were embarrassed to even have to say anything. Every time fireworks went off, he would grab a chair and find the best place to sit and watch – from the yard (we had a fairly good vantage spot).
His hobby was working on cars. He has a friend with a collector car. So, every year Neighbor would make sure the car was running so the friend could take it on the Dream Cruise. Neighbor always made sure that every car they owned ran as it should – especially wife’s classic car. His latest project – a Chevy pick-up (I can’t remember, possibly late ’70s).
When he couldn’t work at his job any longer, the mechanic across the street hired Neighbor to work there for as long as he wanted/could. It was one of those win-win things. The mechanic got a great, hard working employee and Neighbor got to do what he enjoyed and still feel good about himself.
Anytime my husband or I had car questions (even another neighbor two doors down), Neighbor was the “go to guy.” We are all the kind of neighbors that when we help – nope won’t take money, I know you’ll help me when I need it sort of folks.
The Neighbors are folks who enjoy their toys: jet skis and snowmobiles. We have lake privileges and there are a couple of State parks with lakes close by – those same parks have snowmobile trails.
When the kids graduated high school and were both interested in cooking schools, my husband custom built cases for each of their chef knives that also held the sharpening sticks we bought for them. I got small “plaques” with each name engraved and those were mounted on each box. When we celebrated husband’s 50th birthday, I had the Neighbor Kid (son) cater and told him to set the price. He had fun.
Since husband is so good with cabinet building, when Neighbors decided to redo their kitchen, they had husband build all of the cabinets. Back in 2000 when we redid our kitchen/dining area, (before their kitchen) Neighbor Kid (daughter) was worried that we were fixing up to move – to the point that she came over and told us NO we aren’t allowed to move!!!
So now Neighbor has to finalize her husband’s funeral. I can’t imagine how she feels, oh sure I can guess. I know it’s hard on her and on their grandson they’ve been raising since he was one – will be 12 in September. I do know one aspect she will be going through – what to do with all of his things.
So, what is the reason for this? Well to honor my neighbor. To honor a man who kept fighting when doctors told him he didn’t have a chance.
I do know that watching fireworks just won’t be the same.