On Sunday, three fire trucks and an ambulance pulled up to the house across the street. Firemen and paramedics entered the house, and a few minutes later, carried our neighbor Angelo to the ambulance on a stretcher, still pumping at his chest.
It did not look promising.
I learned later that evening that Angelo had died, of a heart attack.
Angelo and his wife, Jean, bought their house when it was first built, in the 1950s. They have been our neighbors since we moved in across the street from them, over 20 years ago. They are old enough to be my, or my husband's, parents.
They are wonderful neighbors, kind, friendly, not nosy or intrusive, yet they keep an eye on the house when we are not here. They share oranges from their trees with us each year and back when they used to go out to farmers markets more frequently, they would sometimes bring us peaches or apricots. They wave when we walk by and they are sitting on their porch. They smile when we are watering our lawn or getting into our car and they are bringing out the recycle bin. They buy girl scout cookies and Scout-O-Rama tickets when the neighbor kids sell them. They chat with us when we have time, and smile and wave when we don't.
They have many adult children. The ones who live close by have, for years, come for Sunday dinner, often bringing the grandkids.
Angelo and Jean kept their yard looking beautiful for many years until they could no longer physically handle it. They loved the flowers they planted each spring. They loved planting, watering, watching things grow. They cried when their big beautiful old tree in the front yard died and had to be cut down.
Over the past couple of years, both Angelo and Jean have had some health issues. Their wonderful grown kids have taken turns taking care of mom and dad. It is obvious they love their parents very much. They take care of the yard, although they do not plant as many flowers as their parents did. They take their parents shopping, help them cook, hang out with them on the front porch. They bring the grandkids to visit. Some of the kids come from very far away. One lives in Hawaii. She comes and stays for weeks at a time.
The kids are good neighbors, too. Friendly, but not nosy or intrusive. They wave and smile, and chat with us when we have time, just like their parents.
Angelo was a good man. He loved his wife and his many kids and grandkids. He was smart and funny. He was a good neighbor. The world was a better place with him in it.
Goodbye, Angelo. May your soul find peace and contentment.