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The old neighborhood and its characters
Old 12-19-2018, 06:48 AM   #1
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The old neighborhood and its characters

The houses were small and close together in my old neighborhood and that proximity meant you knew you neighbors well, perhaps too well. My block, like any I suppose, was full characters: the untrusting guy with the ex-model wife, who did not allow an unsupervised plumber in the house, the late riser, who made a pile early in life, who wandered around perpetually with a cocktail in hand, and the guy with hot tempered Latina wife who complained publicly that he had no “interest’ in her. On a summer night with the windows open there were few secrets. Then there was my fishing buddy Anthony, ten years older than me, a procrastinator, who was at the end of his career, perpetually trying to hang on to that awful job.

Anthony, like me had a life-long passion for fishing, he knew a great deal about fly fishing and spent what little money he had on it. The trouble was our 30 minute from NYC suburban life meant fresh water fly fishing was nowhere close. Oh there was a put and take (stocked) stream about an hour away- but to me, that only simulated real fishing and it was arduous- sleep in your car to get on line the night before. Still he went regularly.

I owe a great deal to my buddy Antony I learned from his ill advised boat buying adventure that boats are expensive mistresses and require a good deal of work. In my opinion too much work. Up at 4:30AM, attach the boat to truck, drive an hour and half, put the boat in the water, fish in the sun and wind all day, then get the boat back on the trailer, drive back home and clean the boat. Usually it was dark by when I walked the couple houses back to my snug little house. DW was tolerant of these exhausting all day excursions but I knew it was all too much.

We were fishing together for a few years when Antony was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes It was a particularly crushing blow because like any good Italian son his life revolved around food - lots pasta and bread. We got into the habit of taking long walks together. We would also go to Saturday night mass together. I think the reason we got along so well is that we were two old fashioned conservative guys.

Antony and his wife were thin and small in stature - this point was emphasized when he ordered a new pillow top bed. When new boxspring and mattress were stacked on the bed frame it was hip high on me. It was obvious it would require a bit of a vault for Anthony and the Mrs. The ‘untrusting’ neighbor said “Antony you can borrow my step ladder but you’ll have to return it when we paint”. Of course sarcasm was rampant amongst the friends. I laughed for days. There always was lots of laughter.

We moved away from that house in search of a better education for the kids. We ended up finding that and a better quality of life. The Mrs told me it has been 14 years.

I was in our spare bedroom working on the last task for work yesterday when the Mrs bought up a piece of mail. A Christmas card with no return address. Inside I found a plastic card the give out at funerals with my buddy Antony’s name on it and a date this past summer. I guess his wife was going through the Christmas card list and came upon my name and realized I probably didn’t know. The means of delivery seemed wrong to me but in the end I am sad I didn’t get an opportunity to attend the funeral.

I am glad I only have one task to finish and Im all done with work. Time waits for no one. Happy fishing Antony.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:54 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing your great memories, and my condolences for the loss of your friend.

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Old 12-19-2018, 10:21 AM   #3
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That’s sad Ray. It sounds like you guys had lost touch with each other.
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:30 AM   #4
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Sad to say but that seems to be life today .
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:11 PM   #5
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Thanks for the story, and sorry for your loss.

In his widow's defense, my Dad died back in June but I have *yet* to notify everyone. As soon as I think I have finally had that awkward conversation for the last time, there will be another email from one of his long, lost friends.
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:33 PM   #6
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When my MIL died unexpectedly at 67 we let people know.
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:39 PM   #7
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The neighborhoods where everybody is growing families are the best. School, activities, sports, football games. We moved away 2.5 years ago and miss it terribly. Running down the street to borrow some sugar, or a pie. Neighborhood kids running up to our house because they know we have a bunch of kids DVDs they can borrow. The coffee shop that knows your name when you walk in (Norm!) Just the day to day stuff
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Old 12-19-2018, 04:59 PM   #8
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Enjoyed that. Thanks. I left those haunts wherein you spoke decades ago. But your stories brought back lots of memories.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:17 PM   #9
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Well done...

I guess we all have some kind of remembrance of special people. Looking back over the years, I can count on the fingers of one hand, the number of Antonys in my own life.
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Old 12-19-2018, 05:30 PM   #10
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Sad to read this; my condolences. And I'm sure it was especially tough to find out this way. I had a childhood best friend that died many years ago. I learned about his death several years after the fact, and I cried like a baby upon getting that news. I can imagine your grief. Again, my condolences.
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