Last Saturday… was almost a good day. It was warm for October 17th. It was mostly sunny. I had spent most of the day doing yard work. I blew leaves and mowed. I cleaned out the flower beds along the side and front of the house and drove the trimmings over to the city yard waste place. The gigantic pile of leaves I had raked and blown in the street was a huge kid-on-a-bike magnet and I recalled days when I was younger. Back in the day, we could actually burn the leaves. Some of our neighbors would rake them out into the street and set them on fire. We would dare to ride our bikes though those flaming leaves.
I was outside pretty much of the day as were a lot of the neighbors. This time of year you never know when the weather will just turn to shit and stay that way until next June. I did not do anything spectacular at all, just regular chores. I felt that I had accomplished something in the end and celebrated by sitting on the porch drinking a Corona. I watched the kids ride through my leaves.
It occurred to me that sometimes we don’t remember a day like this. The temperature was good. The fall colors were pretty spectacular. There were no mosquitoes… they were done quite a while ago. Now it is time for flies, Box Elder Bugs and Asian Lady Beetles. There was no real drama going on at all.
That was all about to change. I decided that I needed something from the store so I drove out and got whatever it was. The truck window was down as I was heading home and in the very far distance I could hear a siren. I determined that it must be an ambulance but I could not see anything. Sometimes it is hard to determine which direction the sound is coming from. As I made my way along the street – still hearing the siren in the distance and noticing lots of other people out doing things – I drove past a house that was particularly active with people and vehicles. At first, I just figured that someone was cleaning out a van that was parked in a front yard. Then I realized that there was a person on the ground and another person was administering CPR. I did not recognize anyone, only that the guy on the ground was wearing a white tee-shirt.
I continued on and listened as the siren came closer. I could now see an ambulance in my rear view mirror and people pulling out of the way. I was beyond the scene at this point and continued home. Another ambulance went to the scene and the road was blocked off. One of the neighbor kids told me that someone had driven their car into the parked van. I had not noticed that as I passed. I felt bad for the person.
As time went on, I discovered that the person passed away and that I actually knew who it was. The man who died was a local guy who was probably one of the friendliest people I’ve met since moving here 16 or so years ago. Every time I would see this guy, he would always go out of his way to say hello.
I guess it sounds kind of strange to think that when remembering the day this guy had the worst day of his life, it was also one of the most beautiful days of 2015.