Sunday, September 13, 2015

My neighbor Luke Sanders died suddenly - on Sept 8, 2015

Image  The parking lot was full when I arrived at Craft-Givnish to attend the funeral of neighbor Luke Sanders.

He and I became friendly when his son, Billy, died several years ago. I'd walk up the hill to his house - about 10 minutes away - and would occasionally bring him a hot lunch, perhaps some chili or soup.

He'd brew me a cup of Folgers coffee.

Luke was a handsome man. The funeral home did a good job making him look natural. You can really stare at a person when they're dead.

  One day about a month ago my Bissell vacuum broke. I wasted no time and bought a new one....

Image result for electrolux ergorapido  This is an Electrolux Ergorapido.

Drove it over to Luke's house to ask if he could put it together for me.

When I returned several hours later, he told me it took him all of 10 minutes to set it up.

I told him how grateful I was. Before he retired, he was a tin knocker, or sheet metal worked. He installed many kitchens - both commercial and rez'l I think - at the Shore.

His son, Bob, told me that.

Whenever I had a Guest Column or Letter to the Editor published in the Intelligencer or the Inquirer, Luke would drop it off in my mailbox.

I don't get either paper.

It's always a thrill to see my name in print.

Here's the last one he dropped off in my mailbox.

A woman named Valerie lived with Luke. She moved in after his son, Billy, got really sick.

The other day she called me.

"It's about Pop," she said on the phone message.

Oh, I thought, perhaps he's sick.

Never did I think he was gone!

 He kept up his house beautifully, adding some new windows.
When I saw Mailman Ken, I asked him if he'd heard about Luke.

Yes, he said. Later, Bob told me he told the mailman.

Mailmen know everything!

At the funeral home, they hired a pastor to deliver the service. As mentioned, the room was packed. We all filed past the open casket.

I mentioned to Val that I'd wrin a poem about Luke and handed it to her. I mentioned it to Bob, who said, Put it in the casket with Pop.

Someone suggested I read it at the cemetery, but I wasn't going to the cemetery, since I wasn't that close with him.

A woman had come all the way up from S C, where she had moved, and was in tears.

"What a wonderful man he was," she said.

I gave my poem to the guitar-playing Pastor to read at the cemetery.

Today I stopped over the house and asked Bob if they enjoyed the poem.

 Here are a few photos for old time's sake.

Luke's Pontiac Bonneville. Son Tom currently residing in Harrisburg will probly get it.

 Luke's late wife, Joan, had this plant window put in.  She died of cancer at age 60.
Bob at the kitchen table. Never noticed the carpeted floor before.

 I told him this was wear I would eat with his dad. He really loved his dad and was quite emotional, thinking about him.

He and his friend, Bill, who was also there, put all of Luke's clothes in black plastic trash bags to give to some Bikers for their cause of helping burn victims.
 Cheerful magnets.
Luke had a real love of beauty. Everything in that house was beautiful.

The sofa is long enough so Bob could sleep on it. His mom, he said, had it reupholstered three times.

See the stuffed animals? Luke had a stuffed animal in his coffin.

 Luke's chair. Behind him and all over the living room and dining room were his beloved Hummel figurines.
Joan apparently made this blanket. Guess who has it now?

Just finished a Guest Column for the Intelligencer today. "September is Suicide Prevention Month."

How dyou spose I'll ever get a copy of it?


You took care of me, Luke, in your own sweet way
You scoured the newspaper every day
you had all the time in the world
you sat in your easy chair, surrounded
by photos of your family and
those damn Hummel figurines,
designed by a nun, you told me

When you’d see my name in the paper
with my fancy middle initial
“Z” like the buzz of the honeybee
you’d drop it off in my mailbox
I’d hear the thud

Never thinking of your own thud
on your upstairs hallway, gone
down for the count, Val told me

Stood before your house on Sleighride
this morning, you’ll never drive by my
house again in that flashing silver Pontiac
of yours, I spose it’s gone straight to
the Afterlife where that beautiful wife of yours
relaxes on a soft white couch and Billy
pops open a Rolling Rock, “Careful, Pop,
Don’t spill it. Tastes better than anything
you’ve ever had before. 

Image result for rolling rock

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