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Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Neighborhood Fix Up Guy

Today, our neighbor was in the middle of the street "fixing" a manhole cover. He is the neighborhood handyman...if there is something that needs repair, chances are, he knows how to fix it. The manhole cover made a cluh-duh--dump sound whenever a car passed over it. This is something new, within the past week or so, this noise. I guess Neighborhood Fixit Man was growing as annoyed as we were with the sound.

I can't imagine it bothers anyone half as much as it does me. It's sunny and warm, so we keep the windows open as much as we can. My computer is no more than 3 feet from the window that is in a direct line to the noisy manhole cover. Using my best judgement, I'd calculate that the area in question is no more than 75 to 100 feet from my window, and that includes the 3 feet of indoor space. So, I can hear very clearly every time a car cluh-duh--dumps the cover.

Neighborhood guy was scraping off some dirt and street residue in an effort to make it settle into it's place quietly, and stop rocking so loudly, and for a while, it worked...this may be a work in progress, though, because the noise has resumed. I do wish I could have seen his face, though, when our bullhorn made that little "aingh aingh" noise to get attention, then "someone" (I promise it wasn't ME) called out from inside the house, "Excuse me sir - would you please step away from the manhole?" Neighborhood Guy must have been startled...but it's okay because these two are good buddies, and share a beer from time to time. I just did not have my vantage point so that I could see what was going on. They both laughed about it, and it was a good point of humor for my day, too.

Sometimes the simplest things can stir up a memory and this was one of those things. My dad was our neighborhood fix it up guy. He told us that he was a jack of all trades and a master of none, and he sure did enjoy his beer too. Had cancer and his heart not taken his life 21 years ago, he would have been 81 this year. There are days that I really miss was one of those days. Neighborhood Fix it Guy reminds me of my dad - usually jovial, usually repairing something or puttering around someone's yard (it does not have to be his) and almost always willing to stop whatever he is doing to tell a story. As soon as the sun sets, you can usually find him with a can of beer in his hand, too, like my dad. I don't think Neighborhood Guy smokes, though, and my dad did.

I know that my mother is proud of me and happy with how I "turned out" and I have to believe that my dad would have been as well.

After my divorce, my mother confided in me, "Your daddy never liked him, you know. He was the only one of our sons-in-law that he never, ever liked."

I asked her why no one had ever expressed this concern to me.

"Would you have listened?"

Probably not. But I do wish one of them would have told me that he had concerns. I might have listened...I am sure he would be much happier with who I am with now. I sure am!