We hit it off right away. Sometimes you meet people you just "click" with. I guess you could say we were soul mates.
Genteel, soft spoken, distinguished--that was how he came across. But it had nothing to do with his appearance. In his middle 80s -- silver haired, gap toothed, walking with a cane, he was hardly a person people would notice.
Staying with a "semi" lady friend, a convenient arrangement for both, he had no home of his own. And she frequently reminded him of that
"This is my house that my husband built for me when we were first married," she pronounced over and over to us both.
But it didn't bother him. That's just how he was- easygoing, appreciative of everything, never a bother to anyone.
During our visits together he would reminisce about where he had traveled, people he met, but mostly about how he was a singer and band leader during the war---never was quite sure how he got so lucky to be picked to perform at the Officers' Dinners.
I loved to imagine as he chatted away:
Dressed in a tuxedo, playing the saxophone and singing he was center stage. Beautiful flowing dresses and starched white uniforms crowded the dance floor as he played and sang well into the night. Sparkling glasses full of fizzy cocktails lined the flower filled tables. Waiters whisked around carrying silver trays.
I could almost hear his smooth voice filling the dance hall.
He rarely played music now. She didn't like it. And it was her house, after all.
We became great friends, talking, laughing at the same things, our mutual love of books. He shared his secret for growing the perfect rose, reminded me to change my oil, made sure I had someone at home to take care of me.
I loved listening to his stories as I checked his blood pressure and tended to him.
It was the sound of beautiful music that surprised me as I entered the house one morning-- turns out she was gone for an all-day appointment.
The expression on his face was one of pure bliss as he listened with eyes closed. He didn't even notice I was there for several minutes. I knew he was back there again in front of the crowd.
Several months went by-- his condition began to worsen. He was getting weaker and weaker. I knew it wouldn't be long.
Not long after, he called me one day
"Honey, can you come over? I don't feel well". I found him lying in bed, pale, weak, barely able to breathe. The ambulance arrived shortly after.
That was the last time I saw him.
I never got to tell him how much our friendship meant to me--but he knew---kindred spirits know those things
And in my mind he will always live on
his sweet melody will live forever
(click on the link below)
Moonlight Serenade Glenn Miller Band