Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Here, There, Everywhere

In February at my fathers visitation a wizened elderly man stood in front of me, stooped over with his skin the color of ill health, his friendly eyes met mine as I smiled at him, he took my hand and introduced himself. My face went from a smile to one of shock and disbelief. I searched his face for some reassurance that it really was him and sadly I stepped into his open arms for the hug he was offering.

My God. I had not seen Jim since Joe and I left Mayberry to move to Hoosier Land three years ago. The cancer he had been valiantly fighting for 15 years was finally winning. The strong, friendly, tall, lawyer, who knew everyone in Mayberry, born, raised, went to school here, left to attend college, returned here to teach, left again to get an advanced degree, returned here to practice law, married, raised his own family here,coached the youth leagues here, was a surrogate father figure to many here, adopted a child from the orphanage here, became a pillar of the community here, opened his heart and wallet to many here, and last week died here.

This is the type of man he was...

From the Funeral Home guest book.

".......Peggy, we have never met but I own Neighborhood Grocery on Clifton Road. Just wanted you to know how good Jimmy was to Wajeeh and I. When we first bought the store and were having a hard time, Jimmy would come in the summer carrying fresh tomatoes and other things we could sell in the deli just to help us out. He would come in hot and tired, carrying produce and other items and tell us, "just hang in there. I was thinking about you all and brought these for you'll to use in the deli and sell on your sandwiches." Your husband's kindness and wishing good for everyone will be greatly missed. If there is ever anything Wajeeh and I can do don't hesitate to ask us."

It's good to know that people like him do exist. The greatest gift about living in a small community is this, we all know each other. Even as our little Mayberry town grows and embraces all the new blood from places far and wide (as my family entered over 50 years ago)there will be people like Jim to meet them and make them feel welcome and at home.

Unfortunately, there will never be another one quite like him.

9 comments:

Beth said...

He sounds like a very special man, and there is a lot to be said for living in a small town.

Cynthia said...

When I read something like this I'm reminded of the Bible story where Lot asks God to not destroy Sodom if there were three righteous men there. Your Mayberry would never need to have worried with your friend there. This was a beautiful tribute. It gives me hope that people like that do exist.

Indigo said...

He sounds like a legend of a man. A true rarity in these days. (Hugs)Indigo

gigi said...

It is a pithy reminder in such troubled times; it is indeed good to know that such people exist. They make the world a better place for having lived, and always a little sadder when they go.

Paul said...

One of the best things about blogging is that tributes can be made to deserving people, tributes which might otherwise remain unsaid.

pia said...

That is a beautiful tribute

i hope that if this year has taught us anything, it's that who we are is much more important than what we have

Thank you for this post. It lifted my--I'm in a town I don't really know--depression

Have a wonderful Christmas

FrankandMary said...

You know when you read something and it makes you tingle?...partly because it is so good and so real and partly because you can relate oh so well.
This entry did that for me.
Thank you. ~Mary(the other one)

Lori said...

I'm glad you were able to see him one last time like that. He sounds like a very good man.

Lisa said...

Obviously I didn't know him but his death made me sad...it's sad to lose such a good soul and he sounds like he was that and more.