Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ode to a friend

The word "neighbor", has lost its meaning since I was a kid. Back then, a neighbor was someone who invited you to their family reunion. Nowadays, a neighbor is the house down the street, that gives your kids candy on Halloween...
...Frank redefined that word neighbor.
My friend and good neighbor Frank Arnold died this morning. He'd just turned 88.
Frank grew up in Long Island, caddied through the Great Depression to put food on his family's table, met his childhood sweetheart along the way, before joining the Navy and flying Navigator in numerous midnight missions in the South Pacific.
Frank loved golf, had a membership at Mystery Valley GC, and always had a game available with other US Veterans. He was either playing golf, talking golf, or watching golf. He regularly broke 100 in his early 80's...a feat all of us would be so lucky to accomplish at his age.
Golfing with him was an adventure in patience. Because of his advanced age, I wasn't just playing my game, I was also helping him play his. Macular Degeneration had started it's early destruction on his vision, so it was a given that I would be his cart- driver, fore-caddy, and hole-rattler to make his round enjoyable. Playing with Frank also meant a 19th hole trip to his favorite haunt The Grove, where we could enjoy some suds and re-live the day.
As a neighbor, he and his wife would love watching and being around our kids. If we needed a date-nite, they were always available for our speed-dial.
Frank always had a beer ready for trade when he needed a fan put in, or maintenance on his car...and I was a sucker for a good trade. "John, I need an air conditioner put in, and I have Sam Adams on ice"..."Frank, I'll be right over."
The worst part about death I think, is how much you are aware of how fast life goes on after someone you love dies. Time doesn't stop, and we're on to the next day. It's the cruel reality for the living. Now their house sits vacant. So now we'll look at a quiet house with the lights off.
Somewhere, Frank's golf shoes are sitting in the wash room, waiting to be filled...
...and it will be a while to find someone to walk in them.
Thanks for reading. Keep it in the short-grass,


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post - it keeps things in perspective. My great uncle (also named Frank and also in WWII) is 84 and retired from golf a few years ago due to health reasons. He basically taught me the game and I miss playing with him. It's good to have had a "Frank" in your life - it teaches us allot about what's important.

Epione, Los Angeles Cosmetic Surgery said...

I m impressed with this actually. Frank- A very good player.