My neighbor George lives directly across the street from us in this great old house…
I believe he is in his late 80’s or early 90’s. I first met George when we moved into this house, 4 years ago. I was talking to the neighbors beside us and we were discussing antiques. I told them how much I love all things old. Especially houses. They informed me that George had a house completely full of antiques and that I would really love the inside of the house.
Well, a few days later I was outside and I looked up to see George shuffling along toward me. He was moving very slow, but since I could tell that he intended to talk to me, I decided to meet him halfway. He introduced himself and told me that he’d heard that I was fond of antiques (don’t you love how fast word gets around in a small town?) and wondered if I’d like to come inside his house and see his.
I’m pretty sure I may have actually squealed with delight. The girls were only 2 and 5 then, so I told him that I first had to gather them up to come along with me. He seemed a little nervous at the idea of 2 little girls inside his antique-filled house. I can’t say that I blame him. But, the girls were extremely well-behaved especially considering that we spent an hour and a half going through his house. Aside from the wonderful antiques that he had, just the house itself was awesome. There is a servant’s entrance and a butler’s pantry and all of those cool old things that you don’t find in houses anymore.
We said our goodbyes that day and I would see George out mowing his yard or working in his flowers on occasion. Sometimes we’d wave and a few other times we might talk for a couple of minutes, but we didn’t really spend any time together after that first day in his house.
The years have gone by and as the girls have grown it seems that we get busier and busier. I hadn’t seen George out a lot, but I just chalked that up to the fact that we are always doing something. However, right before we left for our summer vacation, a neighbor came & told me that George had taken ill. Something to do with his heart. He doesn’t have any family living, but he has a rental house and the tenants had been taking him to his doctor appointments, but they live in Greensburg and it was a little difficult. The neighbor that I was talking to had been stepping in a little and taking him to some doctor appointments here and there. I told her that I’d be praying for him and that I’d check in with her when we got back from vacation to see how he was doing.
Well, it shames me to say that I forgot all about poor little George across the street. I did pray for him a few times before we left, but we got back from vacation and we were in full softball mode and I just completely forgot about his situation.
Until one day Hannah comes up to me and says, “Mama, I want to make a card for George so he will feel better.”
And then it hit me that I had forgotten all about his health issues.
So, she made him a card that said, “Dear George, I heard you were sick so I made you this card to make you feel better. Hope you get better soon, Hannah (your neighbor across the street)”
She walked it over herself and put it in his mailbox.
I was proud of her for thinking of George, especially since we’d been on the go so much that I forgot all about it, let alone a 6-year old girl who has tons of other stuff to occupy her time and mind. I was also really ashamed of myself.
A couple of days later, Hannah looked out the front window and there was George, shuffling along towards our house with an envelope in his hand. She jumped up and flew out the front door and met him halfway. I followed along behind and he handed her an envelope and thanked her for her card and told her that it made him feel so much better that he could even get out and deliver this letter to her.
For the next 15 minutes or so I stood talking to George and finding out all about his health issues. Aside from the heart troubles he also has cataracts and has been told he can no longer drive. He has a nurse that comes in once a week to check on him and one of our neighbor’s grandsons is taking care of his yard for him. I asked him how he was getting his groceries and he said that he tried to get a ride into town whenever he could find someone to take him. I told him that I go get groceries every Thursday morning and that I’d be happy to take him with me if he wanted to go. He was thrilled at that and said that he would love to go with me.
When I got back home, I read the letter to Hannah.
“Hi Hannah – Thank you for the hand-made drawing/”get well” card. Yes, since the first part of May, I’ve been in and out of hospital, but had to return again the last part of May and June. Was happy to return home to see the town of Hope. Thanks again for the card. – George (your neighbor across the street)”
He even decorated the letter and envelope with hand-drawn flowers. Hannah was absolutely beaming when I read it to her.
So, now I have a date with George every Thursday morning and I have to tell you that I really look forward to my time with him.
I have learned that back when he worked, he was a movie set designer out in California and he traveled all over the world buying different pieces for the movie sets. I asked him if he’d ever done sets for any famous movies, but he said it didn’t really work like that. He didn’t always know what movie he was building sets for. He said that sometimes the studios would reuse the sets in different movies. However, he did know that he’d built a couple of sets that had been used in Alfred Hitchcock movies. Pretty awesome.
George is sometimes very chatty and sometimes very quiet. He will sometimes assume that I know what he’s talking about when I honestly have no clue what he is saying. He tells me all about the places he’s been to all over the world and what different cultures are like and I am never anything less than amazed after spending my mornings with him. We make our way very slowly through the grocery store. The cataracts really do a number on his vision and sometimes he bumps into things, but holding on to the cart helps him keep his balance. I try not to do too much for him because I don’t want to offend him and he told me once that he has to learn to do these things for himself as best he can. I help him read some of the food labels that are too small for him to make out and he tells me how bad some of the stuff I put in my cart is for my health and I will throw up some lame argument about “all things in moderation”. 🙂 But I always enjoy his company and am very fond of my new friend.
I am so glad that Nanner didn’t forget about him and that her little get-well card brought us together.