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8.17.2011

THE VIEW FROM THE CORNER

Old man Eddie lives diagonal across the corner from me in a house he built when this street was still only dirt.  I wasn't here then, but Eddie told me that.  His house was built 1950ish and he is still, at 86 or 87 years old, meticulous about it.  This summer he hired someone to mow for him, but he still putters, rakes, sweeps and generally walks "the ranch" daily on his property tour.  He used to own a pretty well known bar/restaurant till he retired in his 60's and then worked for a bank managing their vault for some years after that.  I like that Eddie lives there.  His presence gives me comfort - that he was here before anyone else on these blocks.  If we ever had a parade on our street, Eddie would definitely be Grand Marshall.  I have done a lot of outside home improvement projects on my house.  Last summer I had 8 ton of gravel dumped on my cement driveway to landscape my entire house.  Working alone at that big project, with only my little pull dump wagon and a shovel, it took me some time to move that many rocks.  Eddie watched me.  Sometimes sitting in a lawn chair at the edge of his garage.  Sometimes through the two large picture windows that create an L in the front corner of his house.  When out for his walk he would stop and comment on all the work I was doing, how nice the place was looking.  During my single stretch I would come home on Tuesdays - trash day, to find my trash can and recyclable bin pulled from the curb back up to the house.  I questioned a couple of neighbors - was it them moving it back for me?  No was the reply from all.  It was a touching thing during that time to have someone do something for me.  A few weeks ago I was out in the street sweeping up the leftover twigs that the city left behind when they picked up our big pile of limbs.  There was Eddie.  I watched him roll up an elderly lady's trash can.  He stopped to visit with me, asking if I had gotten remarried.  Yes, I told him.  Then it dawned on me.  Could Eddie have been the one that had rolled up my trash can the whole time I was single?  He was 87 years old and I hadn't suspected him until now.  "Eddie," I asked, "you wouldn't have been the one who pulled my trash can back up to the garage all these months?".  "Well, yes" he said, "I wanted to help and only stopped when I saw you had gotten remarried."  The trash can mystery was solved.  I was so touched by his small act of kindness all those months that I had to fight back a tear.  He didn't know how alone I had felt back then - how the weight of everything on my shoulders would, at times, want to break me.  It was a small thing, somewhat insignificant even.  And yet, I had felt that someone was taking care of me.  Eddie was.  He might have wondered why I got choked up over his confession.  His comment was priceless to me, "I only stopped when I knew there was someone there to take care of it for you."  Without a doubt I knew God had sent Eddie to do this small act of care showing me visibly that I was not alone - the weight of everything wasn't all on me.  Eddie came over today as I worked in the back yard.  He came to inspect the patio we had poured this week.  He reminded me, just like he did last fall, to unhook my hose in the late fall so it wouldn't burst.  I apologized for looking a bit scruffy and dirty from working outside.  His response, "You look good to me.  I couldn't see it even if you didn't.  I have macular degeneration."  He called me honey, said goodbye and walked slowly back across the street to his view from the corner. 

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