Saturday, May 08, 2010

Our Neighbor Passed On

Stan, our across-the-street neighbor since 1949, passed on to glory. “Cause of death?” “He was 92.” “But what did he die of?” “I said he was 92.” You don’t need a reason at that age; he just plumb wore out. I’m sure the coroner or someone will put down some reason, but if I had the job, I’d just write, “92, good long life.”

After 61 years, you not only get used to someone’s idiosyncrasies, but actually begin to enjoy them. He talked a lot about his service in WW2, especially on a ship in the Aleutians where, according to him, if you fell overboard they wouldn’t go back to get you because you were dead after two minutes anyway. Or so he said.

As my brother put it, “Anyone who had the chance to have sat in on one of his hot dog suppers would probably never find one any better.” That’s for sure; everything you wanted and plenty of it. Family, grandchildren and us on the back patio which he built and built on stones which I supplied for so much a wagon-load.

“Remember those Labor Day parties at the beach? Stan and his wagon, and his unending preparations?” I’m not sure if that’s the day we burned the Christmas tree, or if it was on July 4th, but his affairs were always done in style (not stylish, but in style). Good humor always trumps a matched set of dinnerware.

He had a near-death experience once and scolded the physician for bringing him back. “I was almost there,” he said, and, “I’m no longer afraid to die; it was wonderful.”


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