Saturday, August 7, 2010

Great Americans Live Amongst Us Too--

It's been a busy week. On Monday we learned that our neighbor, a true cornerstone of our little country neighborhood had passed away the previous week. We of course did not know & therefore could not attend his funeral. We felt so very badly to learn about our neighbor as he was the favorite of our neighborhood, for all the decades we have lived here. The next day we learned from Don's grandson, that his grandmother Shirley, Don's wife, had suddenly passed away too. Shirley died very suddenly only three days after her husband Don did. Shirley was in a nursing home because Don could no longer care for her at home, & the family said no one had told Shirley that her husband had died.

I was able to attend Shirley's funeral & memorial service. Her husband Don was of course mentioned during their son's eulogy of his mother, for the family had only buried their father, four days prior.

Shirley lived to be 85, just a month away from turning 86. Shirley was a very sweet, intelligent & interesting woman, & her husband Don was 86 when he died. They had been married for 65 years, & had lived of course through & during many historic world events. Both of them in their 20's at the time of Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima. They, as so many couples married & begun their families way back then. Don & I would often have very interesting conversations regarding world events, & attitudes. He told me he believed in peace, & could no longer think that war would be a solution. Don like my father was a veteran of the second world war, & did what he could to save & liberate the peoples of Europe back then. He never glorified war, & would only speak with respect for the victims of war, the true loss of war, & his dismay that wars are still fought. He would often say that Americans are most fortunate, indicating that we have become spoiled.

Just yesterday as we drove by Don & Shirley's place, their modest ranch perched near the edge of the road, situated on a beautiful rambling yard, with a lovely pond. They shared their pond often with those of us in the neighborhood, as far back as when our own son was a baby & we had just moved in during a typical hot & humid summer. Yesterday on our way home, as we drove by their place, which we do just about daily, we spotted the tomatoes that Don, every year routinely plants right around Memorial Day. No matter what, he had his tomatoes, & green peppers planted every year when we would be clear of the threat of frost. And every year he had his holy hocks too. But not his year as I don't recall the holy hocks. Yet even now, I still see Don, standing in his yard, waving, & stopping to talk to nearly every one as we would drive in, or drive out. This year I know others in his family will be picking those tomatoes. They will be thinking of their mom & dad who so lovingly made a home for them, were always there for them, but also were so welcoming to many a new comer here in our neck of the woods that we call, where we all live, a true home.

Home is where the heart is & harvest time this year will have an element of sadness, for those of us who knew Don & Shirley Burton. Watching those tomatoes continue to ripe, will continue to remind me of a sun shined sweetness, & also a great loss.

No comments: