Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Invisible Man Ponders Death in the Neighborhood

Last Tuesday our neighbor Tony died. Tony was 78. He and his family lived three houses down the street.

Tony had a stroke about two weeks ago and was rushed to the hospital. He improved enough for therapy and was sent to a nursing home that specialized in just that. Then he died.

Last May their son, in his 40s, died in their house. Apparently the son lost his job and his wife and was living with them. One day we saw a bunch of police cars, an ambulance, an emergency vehicle, and a fire truck – all with their lights flashing – parked in front of the house. I’m sure Tony and his wife was extremely upset over that.

While I was working out in the yard Wednesday and watching members of their huge family come and go I thought of another death. Directly behind them, Carl’s wife died on my birthday in July.

Carl grew up with Anna’s father and is a family friend. He is in his early 90s. He is a tall man. He has a deep voice and talks slowly and kindly. He reminded me of the donkey Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh.

I think Carl and his wife both has/had a form of cancer or leukemia.

Then it occurred t me that Carl’s wife was number two, Tony’s son was number one, and Tony was number three. There were three deaths on that block this year.

That sort of says something for theory of death comes in threes doesn’t it.?

The burial of Tony was yesterday. They did not have a funeral in a church or chapel, just graveside services.

We made two pecan pies. I walked them down and rang the doorbell – nobody came. I was counting on one friend or family member staying to keep an eye on the house – sort of a tradition.

I went back home and kept checking down the street waiting for the cars to arrive. When cars started arriving I walked down the pecan pies.

When I got even with their driveway was about the same time about 7 or 8 middle-aged good-old boys got out of their vehicles and were all walking and talking about car racing. They sort of fell in around me – they were in front of me, beside me, and behind me but they were talking among themselves like I wasn’t there. .. like I was invisible.

We walked up on the porch in formation and an older man held the door opened for us. Some of “us” decided to say on the porch and some walked on in. The older man nodded at me and told me to come on in. Aha! He spoke to me. I was there, just as I thought!

I gave the pies to the widow and told her we were terribly sorry and we will miss him. She introduced to me to the crowd as her neighbor, not by name. Well, at least she knew I was a neighbor, that is something. As I turned away I almost bumped into a lady I knew 30 years ago when I did a lot of photography. Then she worked in the camera department at K-Mart. I spoke and told her I knew her when she worked at K-Mart. I dealt with her almost daily. Then I knew her name, her family members’ name, and trials and tribulations of her life. She couldn’t quiet remember me she said… well, what else is new?

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Blogger Si's blog said...

Know the feeling. Even my family pretends I am not there.

Being facetious, of course. But we all get the feeling that conversations fleet past us that seem to deliberately exclude or to point out that we are intruding on their territory. Or is it just me and not "we all"? Oh, dear, the story of my existence.

5:10 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I know how you feel. I feel that way most the time myself.
If I ever get around writing an autobiography I think I am going to title it "THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS".

5:38 AM  

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