It was a lovely Tuesday morning. The air fresh and clean, the sky blue – a perfect day to tackle some of my pruning chores. As I walked down our driveway, I was met by a street full of emergency vehicles. A swarm of EMTs struggled over a man, trying to revive him. My husband joined me in the driveway and soon we could tell that the chest compressions seemed to be in vain. By this time, my husband had made his way closer to the sight.
The man on the ground was our neighbor. He was the one who was disabled by diabetes, had a prosthetic leg and spent his days sitting in front of his house in a wheel chair. At that point they’d brought a chest compression machine and were again trying to bring the man back to life. The machine made his lifeless body jerk and twist. At last there was a pulse. They whisked him off in the ambulance as the story of what happened began to unfold.
Our neighbor was like the neighborhood sentry. Each day he’d rise early and head for the outdoors. Even during our coldest winter days, he’d bundle himself up and go to his post. He had his eye on the comings and goings of the neighbors – noticed when anything unusual happened – stood guard, as it were. That morning, something happened to cause him to fall from his chair. Fortunately a passerby noticed him and called 911. We waited anxiously to hear what would happen next.
My husband had spent much time talking to this fellow. He was only 53 years old. He lived in his house his entire life, along with a couple of brothers. He once told a story of how he and his brothers liked to rile the temper of a judge who once inhabited our house. The judge finally got fed up with the young whippersnappers and told them. if they ever set foot on his property again, he’d cut off their thumbs and make soup out of them. Apparently the boys steered clear of the judge from then on. I guess I would too.
In spite of his disability, he’d occasionally walk the dog. Only a week ago, I saw him climbing a ladder, but for the most part, he just liked to sit and watch the neighborhood. He had a number of friends who would stop by and say hello. There were those who’d bring him a meal or just chat. I felt safer because of him.
In the hospital, Jimbo was kept alive with all the necessary equipment and by the next day, the machinery was stopped and within a couple of hours, he slowly passed away. I don’t know what his religious views were. He was brought up Roman Catholic. We invited him to church once, but he said, “church wasn’t for him.” God knows where his heart was and if it is His will, Jimbo may be in heaven, serving as a guard at the gate – standing on two strong legs. I pray that is the case.