The most humble man I ever met walked barefoot in summer and wore Brogans in winter. But he walked. I don’t know if he could or couldn’t drive. I just know he walked. He was not bothered by the maintenance of a vehicle. I’m not sure if his world was small and he saw no need to venture far, or he simply didn’t have the money to invest in a vehicle.
He got to the little plank-wood church before everyone else to set the heaters in winter and to open the windows in summer. If it rained as he walked, others stopped to take him along to wherever he, or they, were going.
After fishing, he always shared his catch. His wife’s name was Mabel. I don’t know if they had children. It was just the two of them in their square house by the road by the time I remember them.
Their house was dismantled board by board by people and time long after they left us. I don’t know where the boards went.
He stood like a pine and spoke with a hush. He was present and pleasant. Kind. Mabel was shorter and her laughter louder.
If there was a fish fry, or a fish stew, Mr. Merlee had something to do with it.
It’s been years since his death, decades even. At some point it’ll be a half-a-century, then a hundred years. He is gone. She is gone and their house is gone. Pines trees grow where their home once stood.
Gone and forgotten?
Gone but not forgotten?
I can barely see him now, a shadow of my younger days, walking in the edges of my mind.
Who has made an impact on your life because he or she was important to the community?
What person do you remember from your childhood as being important and unforgettable in the community?
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