Day 67: Our neighbor Fred

13 Jun

Fred has been living across the street from us for about five years now. We never met because his house has been behind a fence facing the other direction. The only access to his house was from the next street and down a long driveway. I think that one of the things that Fred liked about his house was that it was off by itself. That will soon change. The property surrounding Fred’s land has been sold and construction has begun as evidenced by the machinery out in front of the house.

Change is hard on us because we like things to remain the same. Even if our current situation isn’t perfect, it is the devil we know and are used to. Our neighbor Fred is going to see major changes over the next few months. As it is, he has already had his access to his home rerouted. A gate has been added behind his home so that now he enters and exits via our street instead of the one he has been using.

Since Fred and I had never met, I wondered what he might say when I came to deliver his Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. I found Fred sitting on his porch and introduced myself. He was a bit surprised but he took the pie and we started to chat. I told him a little bit about myself but then Fred began to open up and tell me stories about his life.

Fred was born in Medford and as a boy delivered newspapers in Ashland. He was a radar operator on an F94C in the Korean Conflict. He says he was one of the lucky ones that was never shot. Fred drove a Greyhound Bus for a number of years and said the most memorable trip was driving a girls choir while it was snowing. All at once the girls began singing Christmas carols. Fred said it was the prettiest ride he could remember. He also said that he’s traveled “halfway round the world and this is the best place he has found to live.”

How many of your neighbors have you taken the time to get to know? What stories might they tell you if you gave them the chance? I’ll close with the final verse of a John Prine song:
So if you’re walking down the street sometime
and you should spot some hollow ancient eyes,
don’t you pass them by and stare
as if you didn’t care.
Say, “Hello in there. Hello.”

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One Response to “Day 67: Our neighbor Fred”

  1. Patti Matteson Malott June 19, 2011 at 8:24 PM #

    What an awesome story being reminded that every person has a story to be heard if we will take the time! (And John Prine was a waaaaaaaay back favorite!!!) I love these stories!

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