"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one. "
~John Lennon


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Too Late Now

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.

10 comments:

DJan said...

Working hard at 94, that's really a great story, CiCi. And that he died doing what he loved and never had to be sick, I'd like that, too. I wrote not long ago about Olga Kotelko who died at 95 this summer, who competed in track and field up to the very last. Thanks for introducing me to this fine man. :-)

Brian Miller said...

that is cool...i am glad you took the time to talk to the son...and let him know the joy his father gave you and never even knew it....smiles.

Stephen Hayes said...

Such a poignant story. I've recently had the reverse experience. I drove by a house I'd lovingly tended and restored only to see it trashed and uncared for. It made me feel sad.

dkzody said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I sure hope I can go out like that, doing work i really enjoy and doing it well.

Hilary said...

Awww.. 94 is a good run but sad to lose this man with all that energy and so many good ideas. I'm glad you were able to speak to his son and let him know what his father meant to you.

Lawrence Udo-Ekpo said...

A good tribute to a life transformed, a work well done! Thank you for sharing.

anne h said...

Glad to know you are doing well!
<3

YOU put a lot of joy in people's lives... if you never knew it!

Cindy said...

Hi CiCi, I am sure he made a difference, I am glad you met his son. It is funny how one person can have so much impact. Congratulations on your first grand child. exciting, sending a big hug. have missed you.

ShadowRun300 said...

What a great story! I'm only sorry you didn't get a chance to tell him yourself how much his improvements meant to you.
But I'm sure his son appreciated your kind words. And I hope the next owners will put as much care and love into that house as he did.

terri said...

What an inspiration he was! I hope that I'll be as energetic and motivated as he was when I'm that age. I'm sorry you didn't get to meet him.