By Gerry Fischer
Friends and neighbors are the most important of things. Sometimes they can both be found in the same people. And I don’t believe there is a strict dividing line between neighbors and friends, but I did consult the dictionary. Friends it seems are well known with whom one has trust, familiarity, intimacy, and who are well liked, esteemed or loved. A neighbor on the other hand, indicates a geographic closeness more than an intimate one. Neighbors are amicable, cordial, helpful, and located near each other. Neighbors can become friends.
Marjorie Rawlings wrote several books, among my favorites are “Jacob’s Ladder,” “The Yearling, and “Cross Creek.” In one of her books the protagonist stated, “If you fall off your roof and hurt yourself, holler, and we’ll fetch you to the doctor. That’s what neighbors are for.” I know down in the country, where I hailed from, you need your neighbors and they need you.
I mention this because one of my best friends over time has been a man named Bob End. Bob was a real estate agent at C-Realty Co., when I was hired by the company. Although six years older than me he showed me the ropes and taught me a lot. A long the way we became friends. His son Gary and I even hunted deer in Meade County and fished now and then. When we moved out here, Bob looked at land with me, and we worked together when he turned his store into a double fronted design. He taught me to always be a good neighbor and help others anytime you can. He explained by doing this you will be repaid in kind when you need help. I suppose its like the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Carl Quillman was right about the lessons he taught me. The saddest of these is the fact that as you grow older, you watch those friends, neighbors and relatives with whom you’ve grown up and became close, pass a way. About six years ago my friend Tom died. I did not know until he died what hard times he had experienced in his last few years. His fortune had dwindled, he was getting assistance from the government in the form of disability, food coupons and help with his utilities. Many people benevolently donate their body to science, but his wife told me Tom did because of the funeral cost. One thing I believe is certain, he will be rewarded for his sincerity and good deeds.
Bob passed away about five years ago and left the world a better place than he found it. He was a Captain in the army, and a good friend to many people, but most specially to me. At one time we were partners.
Three weeks ago, we received a message that Reiner Theis had died in Florida of a lung disorder. We were unaware he was ill. The memories of our experiences diving in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico will always be with me. It is interesting to me, that when Fran and I witnessed Reiner and Bridgette’s becoming United States citizens, Reiner told the thing he liked best of all, about America, was the “The Star, Spangled Banner,” played before a game. He said it gave him cold chills every time he heard it and made him want to officiate his best game. Sad that some want to now reject it.
Last week Frank messaged Fran that Lila had Covid-19 and he had been given a final visitation with her. He could stay as long as he wanted, but needed to prepare her final requests and funeral. She died Wednesday. Its funny, not funny ha, ha, but funny peculiar, that some way the mind focuses on the good times and the good memories rather than the sadness of the moment or the loss. Carl told me about how frequently we would lose friends, but not the way the fond memories would blunt the point of that loss dulling the pain. After all, its all part of living life.