Memories, and a Visit
Recently, I heard from Marty Martinez, an old friend I had not spoken with in years. We had been stationed on El Pani, a mountain in Spain that held the small radar squadron to which we were assigned. Our reunion was bittersweet; Marty told me that our old friend, Max, died a few years ago. Max had been one of the medics on Pani.
And so, another friend has lost the counterfeit immortality of youth and gone to join friends and family who made this inevitable transition before him. It makes me stop and think about things that had never concerned me before. I look at my brothers and sisters, who have gradually grown grey and less nimble over the years, and contemplate life without them. Until recently, my friends had died as the result of wars and accidents; now, the summoner is Natural Causes.
I think of old friends I have not contacted for years, although they live in the same city; that's easily corrected. I think, with regret, of other old friends I'd made in far away places - other cities and foreign countries - with whom Ive lost contact through careless neglectletters that were allowed to go unanswered. Finally, the letters stopped coming. Not so easy to correct.
Today, a neighbor came to the door; she just wanted to say that she would still be our neighbor. As I stood and watched her slow progress back to her own home, I recalled when she and her husband had first moved next door, over fifty years ago.
Her husband, a daughter, and a son have all passed away; she is now enfeebled and her memory is a little uncertain. I wondered what prompted her to come and announce that she would still be our neighbor. She finally reached her door and went inside. I heard her door close behind her and closed my own. I hope her visit was not a portent of a less welcome caller.
Some folks say that a person lives on as long as his or her memory survives. It occurs to me that this sentiment is only valid if one doesnt believe in the souls immortality. Otherwise, when their last friend, relative, or acquaintance dies, those who had gone before would blink out along with them. Not a happy idea to mull over.
T. P. Woodfork 10/5/2003