Yesterday was an absolute whirlwind of a day!
My dear mother-in-law is finally retiring after 34 years of service to the phone company. She is 78 years old and has commuted to the city every day and has finally accepted the fact (with very mixed emotions) that it is time. Her company invited her children to join her luncheon retirement party yesterday. I made arrangements so my husband could park his van at the university where I work so we could take the train into town together. After much thought, we figured that would be easiest and it should have been since we have a system in place here that will only allow enough visitor permits to fill the available spaces. Or so I thought. When we got there, the attendant was waving her arms at us that the lot was full. Fortunately, as we were arriving, so was someone else that was just getting ready to leave so that worked out fine. We made it into the city, found the building without any trouble and all was good! Happy retirement, Mom!
Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the death of our neighbor who died far too young in an automobile accident. Another neighbor had informed us that there was going to be a “dedication ceremony/memorial/????” (I don’t know what you’d call it) at the local ball fields. The community came together and dedicated a tree and his family, both local and from England, dedicated a park bench. It was a miserable commute home and that was only hindered by the constant rain that has been falling on us for weeks now.
We were, though, able to get to the park. We’d never actually visited this park and we were both amazed at just how beautiful it is. There’s a huge area with swings and slides and all that good stuff. There’s also a couple tennis courts, a skateboard park, a skating rink, a couple soccer fields, a walking path and lots and lots of open green space. Just beautiful!
Anyway, the service was scheduled for 6:00. As we all stood in the rain, waiting for things to get started, I caught out of the corner of my eye, one of the elderly ladies had fallen on the asphalt walking path. Many ran to her side and immediately called 911. Fortunately, they were able to get her up and seated on the park bench (I’m still not sure if she slipped or fainted). The ambulance arrived and took her away. I want to say it was the neighbors Aunt, as her father got in the fire engine and was driven off as well.
After the priest said some prayers, three of Alastair’s friends spoke about him.
It reminded me once again that I was cheated by the fact that I never actually got to meet Alastair. They moved into the neighborhood just a couple weeks before we did (late August) and before we knew it, winter was upon us and anyone familiar with New England knows that we all turn into hermits in the winter and only venture outdoors long enough to remove the snow that piles up on our sidewalks and driveways.
When I learned of the accident, I went to extend my sympathies to Jessica and her boys. As devastated as she was, she took the time to talk with me about what a wonderful man her husband was, how they met (he was here on a visit from England with no intentions of staying but she changed that!!!), how much he loved America (he’d already become a citizen), loved his boys and to travel with his family. He took pride is his home and garden and loved sports.
I cried at this ceremony. I cried for someone I never knew. I realized afterward that that is exactly why. This man sounds like he was the type of guy that every mother would want her daughter to marry and he left this world far, far too soon, and I never got to even say “hello”. (He did come over and introduce himself to Brian once when we first moved in.)
Jessica and I have since become pretty good friends. I am proud of how strong she has been for her boys (though I know there are some days she would much rather just curl up under a blanket and stay there for a long, long time). I also feel proud to be a part of a community that has come together to support this “townie” who has been dealt a life-altering change that no one her age should have to deal with.
When I have one of those days when I find myself asking if there is any one or any thing good left in this crazy world we live in, I will think of Jessica and Andrew and David. I will think of Alastair. And I will think of North Reading.