The little house I used to live in is around the corner from where I live now. Someone bought the little house last year and proceeded to make improvements. An addition to the garage. Window frames in the garage were replaced. No sloppy work, high quality and the best ideas I wouldn't have thought of when I lived there. It makes a difference that I was only renting, and there were two renters there since I left the place, and then it sold and the new resident was the owner. But still, it was amazing to watch the transformation of the little house. Every day I drove or walked by at least twice, sometimes many trips past the house to go to the senior center or the library or downtown. I found myself slowing down and taking notice of the current project, watching the man taking measurements, building, even putting in sidewalks. Since I myself had spent two years there painting every room inside the place and also the trim on the house as well as entire outside of the detached garage and planting and transplanting trees and plants around the property, I was particularly interested in the improvements.
Instead of stopping and introducing myself to the gentleman, I watched and enjoyed seeing the progress, and figured I would stop sometime "soon" to tell him how much it meant to the whole neighborhood to see how he was improving the property and to tell him I used to live there.
Then a friend of mine called me to tell me the man's son found the man in the back yard. He had died doing what he loved doing. He was 94 years old. That was a surprise to me, I thought he was in his seventies. His vigor and strength was of a much younger man. And he completed each task and moved on to the next one. Quickly.
The son was at the house this week, he lives a block from there and I didn't know him or his wife, but this time I stopped and introduced myself, told him I used to live there and I was the one who painted the trim yellow and how much I enjoyed watching his dad working to improve the little house and how I even wanted to ask his dad to look at the place I am in now and tell me if he had some ideas for improving this place. The son and I had a nice talk about his dad, a man I never met but had wanted to meet. That won't happen now, but that man put some joy in my life without knowing it. Thank you, sir.