This August there’s a new home going up across the street – a perfectly sided and roofed urban mansion with no front porch.
Five years ago Rory’s house stood in its place – an aging turn of the century foursquare with several green wooden Irish shamrocks permanently affixed to the front. It was a hot, hot August that year and often Rory sat on the front steps with his also aging Dad.
New to the neighborhood, I simply waved “Hello!” to these two from across the street; neighbors told me that their large Irish family had inhabited the home for decades; they were the remaining two.
I was immersed in moving in and getting used to my new home. One of the 90+ degree-days, I was gathering some garden tools from the latticed storage area under the back porch when, “Click, ” the door to the under-the-porch area shut and latched closed on the outside. Reaching through the lattice to open it, I soon found that I couldn’t reach the latch from the inside, even with a garden tool.
What to do? It was so hot. I began to yell. At first I just yelled, “Help! Help!” It was embarrassing but I had to try. Then I yelled “Help, Neighbor Help!” “Help, Neighbor, help! “ a little louder. I was getting more distressed when suddenly I heard a male voice, “Where are you?”
“Back here under the porch!” I said.
Then I was looking through the lattice at khaki pants, immediately hearing the latch unlock and a nice looking guy in his 40’s rather shyly explaining, “I live across the street. We were sitting on the porch and I heard you call Help.”
“Thank you, thank you. I’m getting used to things here and the latch locked so quickly…and your name?”
“Rory. I live across the street.”
“Thank you so much Rory for helping me.”
“No problem” he said and rejoined his Dad on the steps. He said their air conditioning wasn’t working that day.
Later I learned Rory worked as a bar back and short order cook at a nearby tavern. I often waved to him as he walked to his job.
Five years have passed quickly, and sadly, both Rory and his father have passed away. Their old house was torn down and the new mansion is moving in. I wonder if this is progress.
I have a theory very simply called, “Ya never know.” This is an all-encompassing philosophy that any one person or situation may affect us positively in the future – though we are not aware of the potential at the time. This is why we should greet, respond, help and notice others we come across in life. We should be slow to judge and quick to understand. We should appreciate before we assume.
I miss the shamrocks.