Slice of Life: Looking Next Door For the Neighbor No Longer There

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

There was a time when every Veterans Day, I would keep a special eye out for my neighbor, who served in the Korean War and who volunteered for years to help other vets out at the nearby VA Hospital. Of course, we connected many other days of the year beyond Veterans Day, but on that day, I made sure I was looking for him.

I’d see him, go outside, and we’d chat, and I’d make sure he knew we were thinking of him and remembering others who served in war and came home to restart their lives. I’d tell him about the Veterans Day event at our school — the breakfast and ceremony and music and celebration. He knew I had been in the military, too, but even on Veterans Day, we spoke little of those connections.

He passed away earlier this year and yet I found myself yesterday looking towards the fence, to where his rake would often rest near mine as we chatted, the leaves fluttering around us in the Autumn wind.

Peace (remembering Sarge),

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  1. I immediately connected with the teaser for this post; we lost a neighbor to cancer a couple of years ago, and his widow remarried and moved away last year. We had so many connections, and have yet to make any with the new occupants of the house. I, too, look wistfully at their porch now and then, remembering our good times there.

    I think you can take comfort in knowing that those regular, yearly encounters were undoubtedly high points in your neighbor’s life. Thank you, and thanks to him, for your service.

  2. The final paragraph of your post — where you described looking for Sarge in the area where he’d rest his rake while you chatted — was so vivid. I could envision the two of you there.

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