A young Mr. D served in WWII in the 3rd Army Anti-Aircraft Coast Artillery / Dec. 2008
I think of the people that come into our lives for a short period of time but leave a lasting impression — both for who they are and for how they make us feel. Mr. D was an older next-door neighbor. He liked to sit on his porch and listen to the radio and nap. He talked about the things he had done in his life including working at a Stetson hat factory in Philadelphia and running his own deli. And in the way of older people, he griped about how the world had changed since he was young. A Jersey boy who loved to get his hands in the dirt, his prize plant was an exotic banana-leaf plant with huge leaves. He loved helping me and would offer his skills, no matter what I was doing. A thriving lilac bush in my yard that he planted and watered faithfully during a dry summer stands as testament to his skills. One year he and his wife helped me plant tomatoes. He would dig a hole exactly the right size, add Miracle Grow and put the plant in. She would compress the dirt around the plant's roots just so, using her hoe. I was awed by their skills. I danced at a party celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. After several years they moved and we kept in touch only sporadically. A call last week let me know that Mr. D had died at the age of 86. I felt the loss for his family and for myself. He thought I was special. He was always glad to see me. Can we ever have enough people like that in our lives?