I grew up with only one house I could see from my parent’s dining room window. Only one home I could see while playing outside. If my memory serves me correctly, I remember the house being built as a child.
His nickname was Spike. I’m not sure why…I never thought to ask.
I didn’t know him that well. I always watched him from a distance. He was a worker from what I could tell…always outside working. He had an in ground pool. As a child, I was jealous that we didn’t have our own.
He has two children not much younger than myself. His oldest son Chris moved away years ago and, if he is anything like his Dad, he is a hard worker as well. His daughter Shelly was born with a birth defect. She became Spike’s sidekick. I don’t remember one without the other. He loved her.
He worked long hours…different shifts I think. That’s a hard life….constantly adjusting your sleep schedule.
For the past several years, he mowed my parent’s grass. Never asked for permission or money or thanks. Mom would make them homemade dinners as her thanks.
I got the call the morning that he passed away. Although I didn’t know him that well, it hit me hard.
Was it because I didn’t go to see him this past weekend with the rest of my family? Perhaps. I felt a twinge of guilt.
The day my parents went to visit him, I ran into his daughter Shelly at Bob’s pizza with her caregiver. Was God giving her comfort or me? A familiar face from her childhood that would remind her of her Dad? Did she understand that when she saw him the day before, it would probably be her last? Probably not. I’d like to think she felt peace seeing me. I’d like to think God didn’t have me go to see Spike that day so I would run into her. His perfect timing.
Was I upset because my parents would miss him?
I’m guessing yes. He was the only house you could see from theirs. They will miss him for sure, especially my Dad. The tall grass in the summer will remind them of the kindness they had from a helpful neighbor.
Was I sad because of his daughter Shelly?
Yep. He always had her back. Her sidekick isn’t here with her anymore. I pray he still talks to her in her dreams.
Was I crying because I’m not more like Spike?
I think that’s the part that scares me the most. Just like the commandment says “Love thy neighbor”. He loved my parents. He served them. I don’t know if I would do the same. I would come up with an excuse of “I don’t have time to do my own”.
Would I have loved a child with a disability like he did?
I’d like to think yes, but in the back of my mind I wonder…if I would be strong enough. I wonder… if the baby I miscarried had a disability and God didn’t think I could handle it. I wonder… if I hadn’t been so selfish back then if I’d have my own sidekick now.
I didn’t know you well Spike, but I do know you are in heaven now. You were a good and faithful servant who asked for nothing in return.
Well done Spike…your home. You can rest now.