(Am re-posting this from two years ago)
"Do you want me to move my car, sir?"
I was unloading stuff from the U-Haul truck on a drizzly Oregon morning. We were the latest in the long line of Californians moving to Oregon. The apartment would be home until we found a permanent place of our own.
I looked towards the sound. It was from the kitchen window of the apartment next door. I walked over and introduced myself. That is how I met her a decade and a year ago.
She had moved in there not much earlier, after the death of her husband. They had been married for a very long time--about fifty years, I think. Yet, she yelled out a "sir" to me when I was so much younger than her?
Over the months, she was often emotional when talking about her husband and her life. She talked about her family, her church, and the different places in the US and around the world that she and her husband had been to.
She introduced us to her church friends, who later became the neighbors that I still am lucky to have. She gave us a big potted plant for the new home that we moved into. She came over once in a while for food or coffee.
Once when she and the neighbors were home for dinner, I played a CD of Hank Williams hits. Yes, the old style country music. She was excited, especially when the neighbor danced with her.
Life happens. She moved to another apartment complex. I visited with her there, too. She was the perfect old-style host that she always was. With coffee and cookies came her stories of her grandchildren. Her old photos, in which one could see the stunning beauty that she was as a young woman.
She knew I couldn't care for church and god, in which she was a firm believer. She never, ever figured out how to say my name and I never, ever cared to correct her either. What's in a name, after all, when she cared so much for a stranger that I was.
A couple of weeks ago, my neighbors had an update for me about her. Cancer, with perhaps not much time left to live.
I requested my neighbor to go with me to visit with her. "Sunday afternoon should be a good time to visit. She is very happy to see you" was her reply.
ps: she died a few months after ...