It Brings It All Home
Author: Shiloh


The house across the street
has had a realtor sign out in front
for only a very few weeks.
Today a smaller sign was added:
They were living there when we moved here,
back in Seventy-Eight,
and they were in their fifties, then.
Carl had built that house,
sometime around 1952,
and he had built it right.
He was good at building most anything.
Best neighbors a person could want;
fun to have coffee with on the steps,
(he liked his coffee "in a cup")
a good one with old stories,
and he like to tinker, liked to help out.
I don't think that there is a room in my house
that he didn't have something to do with.
Oh, he'd pick on me a little bit,
because I didn't know how to do something,
and then he'd smile and tell me that he'd better take a look,
'cause he didn't want me to make the house fall down.
And he would take a look,
and when he finished that look, it was always fixed,
and always much better.
He caught things that I would have never caught -
dangerous things. And he fixed them.
He was just that way.
Well, old Carl, he just shut down one day,
a few short years ago.
That left a big hole in the neighborhood.
From what I heard, it was a rough ending,
but that old WWII scuba UDT diver,
who, on June 4, 1944, swam in from a few miles out,
to help open the beaches for the landing craft
at Omaha Beach.... he was more than capable
of going into that void, crossing that bridge.
All of Normandy was more than you could imagine,
but Omaha Beach was as close to being the entrance to Hell
as anyone could come, he said.
He was a tough old bird,
and I think that when he crossed over,
he probably sort of took it all in stride,-
and while it was a rough last walk,
he had the grit to cross that bridge,
and I bet he crossed it on his terms, too.
Well, I went to his funeral -
actually to his calling hours-
and I don't ever want to go to any more,
He's in a cemetery a few miles west,
and one day I'll pay him a visit,
maybe have a cup of coffee with him again.
His wife of many years, Irene,
she went on, picking up the pieces here and there,
learning to do what he had done,
that she had never really understood,
and she was amazed at how much he really did do
in all those years of marriage.
She had to do them now.
Well, eventually, in the last few years,
Old Irene started to go downhill a bit,
with all sorts of problems that I hope I never have,
and in the last few weeks she was mostly bedridden,
with a hospice nurse taking care of her at home.
She died, one night, or one day - I never found out exactly,
and she was buried with Carl.
Few weeks later there was a realtor sign on the lawn.
Today the sign says it was sold.
That little sold sign sort of brings it all back around.
It really tears me up, more than I'll admit,
because it is the final curtain
on a very important part of life,
that I was honored to be next to.
Whoever moves in to that house is getting a gem.
Hardly anything to do to it
that hadn't already been done by Carl.
Maybe that small patch of grass
that Irene was always fussin' about -
maybe that will grow in now, like she wanted.
I think maybe it didn't, for years,
just so she would have something to fuss over.
They're all gone now, the people,- the memories,
and it won't be the same in this neighborhood
any more.


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