Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The farmer's friend

This neighborhood is built on farmland. I remember meeting the farmer and his wife, whose farmhouse was two streets away. It was a novelty to walk with Lanie down the road and feed the horses (Mona and Fritz). I don't recognize the horses there now.

Many years ago, Mr. H., the farmer, died. I talked to his wife at the funeral home. She told me how they had hoped that families who lived in the community would be happy here. That's what they wanted. A sweet woman. And I remembered how her husband would drive around in a golf cart and offer to take me out to shoot at the raccoons in the trees. I never did. I remembered he had a friend who'd come through the neighborhood, how those two used to go out together all the time. They seemed like brothers.

When Mr. H died, his friend came through the neighborhood regularly to check on the wife. And one day Mrs. H died. The farmer's friend still came into the neighborhood to check on the horses and the house. Once I was at the street when he drove by. He rolled down the window to say hello to me. I touched his hand and expressed sympathy over his close losses.

Years have passed, and his white truck is a familiar sight. Even on these country roads, I recognize him and we exchange a wave in passing, or a hello if it's in the neighborhood. On Saturday, he pulled into my driveway with his wife while I was having a yard sale.

"Come to say goodbye?" I asked. We move in two weeks.

"Why are you leaving? Where are you going?" he said.

We talked and I told him how we're moving to the woods, looking for a change. I looked into his friendly face and felt the tears well in my eyes. We hugged and talked.

"All the pretty ones are leaving," he said. I smiled.

He wished us well and hugged me tight before he left. And I realized afterward, I didn't know his name. 

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