Wednesday, February 6, 2008

RIP, Mr. Frank

I’m in a bit of a somber mood today. I came home from work last night to find out that our next-door neighbor, Mr. Frank, died.

Mr. Frank was old. His wife had passed the week before we moved into our house (I’ll never forget, because one of his sons passed off a funeral plant to me as a “welcome to the neighborhood” plant), and from what the other neighbors say, he kind of gave up after she died.

His daughter had been trying for the last 4 years to get her dad to sell his house (to her friend for less than ½ the market value) and move into a retirement community. He didn’t seem too pressed to move, and I’m glad he wasn’t, because he got to live in his house independently until he died. I saw him every morning as I left for wok. He had already been out and about and was coming back home by then. It was just last night that J told me Mr. Frank spent his mornings taking food over to his brother’s house, as his brother was much older and in worse shape than Mr. Frank.

If you’ve ever been to a party at my house and asked why the neighbors don’t mind, you’d know that Mr. Frank was extremely hard of hearing. In fact, we could hear his telephone ring inside our house with all the windows shut and the television on – and we live in a single-family home!

Although Mr. Frank and I talked often, it was almost always to tell me to tell J something.

“Ask J to pick up my papers, because I’m leaving for vacation on Saturday, and I’ll be gone until the following Friday.”

I didn’t mind though.

I’ll never forget the time the foxes tore open everyone’s trash, and I found used Nitroglycerin patches all over my lawn. I had no idea what they were! But I cleaned up the mess, and hoped Mr. Frank’s heart was okay after finding out what they were for.

We would shovel his walk and car when it snowed. We trimmed both sides of the bushes (when we actually got to trimming them), and we always looked out for him. In fact, I had suspicions Mr. Frank had died about a year ago when it had been 2 weeks since I had last seen him. I was so relieved to see him later in the day that I had told J about my suspicions.

Still, his daughter hated us, and probably still does. I don’t know why. Probably because we don’t mow our lawn every week or trim the bushes before they get out of control, but is that what really makes a good neighbor?

No. A good neighbor is someone who watches after you and your stuff. A good neighbor cares. And I think we were good neighbors to Mr. Frank.

The shitty part of this whole thing (aside from Mr. Frank dying) is that no one told us until yesterday. He apparently died last week (of a heart attack while at the doctor for a cold), and the funeral was on Saturday. I would have gone to the funeral – I was his next door neighbor.

1 comment:

Megan said...

m sorry to hear that.