Mr. Smith

Working from home has surprising challenges. Monday, for example, was a holiday here in Massachusetts, and it was a glorious day to boot. Also, it is school vacation week. Friends from Connecticut on their way to Cape Cod made an overnight stop here on Sunday, and we went for a long beautiful walk in the morning. That walk did me in. By 1PM I needed a nap. And it was such poor timing, because I had a boatload of work to get through. So Tuesday became a frenzy of my own making.

But the benefits of working from home are also marvelous. In our last house, my office was in a rededicated sun porch, freezing in winter and like a hothouse in summer. Our next door neighbor was an elderly man, who lived alone after his wife went into a nursing home because of her Alzheimer’s, and later died because of it. Mr. Smith was more than self-sufficient. After the trash collectors had gone through the neighborhood, Mr. Smith walked around returning barrels and recycling buckets to their proper spots beside all of our houses. He would shovel all of our sidewalks post-snowstorms; then at 85 he got a snow blower and used that. He had a slate roof, and every spring tarred and retiled what had been lost or damaged over the winter. He had beautiful roses and a lush lawn that he cut with a ride-on mower, also purchased in his late 80s (before that he used a push mower). And when he needed a break, if he saw I was in my office, he would come over and sit with me and we’d talk.

Mr. Smith was like my Disney-fied version of a grandfather. My own grandfather was a nasty human being who despised me and I him, so to have this lovely man—who enjoyed my company!–right next door to me was a gift. He often brought roses in a bud vase for me. He was so modest and kind that I am humbled he chose me as a friend. I miss him; he died a few years back. We moved and now I am rarely interrupted while I am working. How nice it would be if he were to drop over today, immediately reducing my blood pressure, and reminding me how incredibly lucky I am.

5 thoughts on “Mr. Smith

  1. Sara Walpert Foster

    I just saw this. Mr. Smith brought smiles to all of our faces. I truly miss him and his kindnesses. You were very lucky to have him next door for all those years. I think he thought of you as his pseudo-granddaughter to go with your Disney-fied grandfather version of him.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: The Old People - Cheryl Byrne Communications

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