Farewell Johnie

His first name was really Lilburn but we didn't know that until he died. He was 93 and a neighbor. It's funny how you interact more with someone that lives across an alley and 3 houses down than you do people right next door.

Johnie was probably about 79 when we moved into our house. He walked everyday, sometimes twice. Even in the winter he took his daily walks. He said his wife kept the house too hot so he got out to cool down :-) If we were outside he would stop by the fence and chat. Whenever we saw him walk by we would say "There goes Johnie!"

He and his wife, who was legally blind, lived alone and he took her everywhere. Once he came over to instruct hubby on how to replace the innards of a toilet tank to keep it from running. He was nice like that so we made him some cookies and he called US good neighbors. For a few years we swapped the bounty of found cans. Our daughter was collecting the tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald house and he collected the cans for his church. So every once in awhile he would bring a soup can full of tabs to our back door and we would haul bags of smashed cans to his.

He had to give up his license about a year ago and we would see his daughter do the driving for him and his wife. Over the years he still walked but he was a lot slower and thinner. There was a time he wore a back brace due to pain, but he was still in there! During a walk recently he fell. I didn't see the fall but as I looked out my front window I could see paramedics across the street. As the Paramedics parted I recognized his famous sun hat, the one he wore on hot days.

I ran out the door to see how he was and to see if he needed anything since no one there would know who he was. He was sitting comfortably in a chair joking with the guys helping him and drinking some water. Some bikers who initially helped him, went down to his house to alert his wife, who called their daughter to come. I didn't want to be in the way so I gave him a pat on the arm and told him I was glad he was OK. As I came back across the street his daughter was running to him.

A few days went by and we could see cars coming and going to his house. Hubby went down there a few times but got no answer. We figured at the worst he would be in the hospital a few days for observation and then be home. One evening from our backyard we could see people in his driveway so Hubby walked over there and then came home with a very long face. Johnie had broken a hip and during surgery to replace it, he died. The family member didn't give that much information, another neighbor did. When hubby asked the Grandson if his death was due to the fall he answered "hard to say."

Was that seriously the only answer? A full hip replacement on a frail 93 year old man? It just seems a sad end to a man who earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. On his online obit there were only two people that signed his book; me and the Wa State Veterans Cemetery. I guess a person who has lived that long has probably outlived his friends. Since we didn't even know he died until his service was over we weren't able to attend. Farewell Johnie, we will miss you. Keep on walking....


Susan Deborah said…
This post made me sad. RIP Johnie and your family find comfort and joy.

Hope you're well.

Joy always,
Mr. Shife said…
Nicely said and a wonderful tribute, kden. Sorry for the loss. Hope all is well and you have a nice weekend.
Grumpy said…
Too many times you hear of elderly people falling and their health going downhill afterwards.

Sorry for your loss.

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