when i moved here twenty years ago, he was the old man down the street.
the character with the cigar forever hangin' out his mouth.
it's been twenty years of waving, calling out hello, and when i'd walk sometimes
he'd drive by in his truck with his cigar and stubbly face and stop and chat for a minute.
in the course of the years i found out he worked at the dump.
and i tell ya, he was the perfect guy for the job.
he just looked the part.
well, it HAS been twenty years, and he's even older, retired, but still
the stubbly face and cigar.
this morning, as i walked by his house - the house you drive by and wonder who in
the world lives there - he came down his front steps. i waved, hollered good morning
and he started walking across his yard towards me.
he'd never done that before.
i crossed the street, planning on meeting him at his fence.
he walked right thru the gate and out to me.
'he's not gonna hug me, is he?' i thought.
and i had to laugh to myself later.
how many people think that when i approach them?
cause chances are, i am going to reach out and hug them.
maybe i should think those hugs thru a bit more.
he didn't hug me. he just stopped and chatted. telling me he hadn't
seen me in ages and was wondering if something happened to me.
nope. i'm just fine.
he asked where i'd been hiding.
i grinned and said i HAD been hiding a bit.
and i looked at his face....he'd never get what i really meant.
about how i'd been hiding from life lately and just not quite myself.
i changed the subject.
asked him a bit about himself, and then backed up to go finish my walk.
as i turned to go on my way, he said again 'i thought something happened to you.'
it occurred to me that he was letting me know he was glad i was okay.
his coming down to the street and checkin in on me was his way.
i smiled and realized that the fact that nothing had happened to me is a
really good thing and something to be grateful for.
we think we're always here.
we think we're entitled to the walk in the morning or whatever.
and that neighbor of mine, that character filled neighbor of mine,
reminded me that i'm really very lucky...and that i don't want to waste
my time hiding anymore.