Thursday, April 21, 2011

peripheral vision

Star gazing with Randy has taught me a few things over the years ... one of those things is that when you are looking for a distant and fuzzy galaxy in the night sky, it is best to use one's peripheral vision.  Things are a little clearer in the dark with the peripherals.

This morning I am thinking about the things I have seen in this neighborhood with my peripheral vision. 

Driving up the driveway on a summer day, my neighbor Keith is often tending his beloved but slowly deteriorating Mayday tree.  Its spring blossoms fill the neighborhood with a luscious fragrance, but one by one the branches are dying, and Keith would climb the ladder with his pruning shears and tend to the tree, to prolong it's life and cut out the dead wood. 

His green truck headed often for the Railway museum, where Keith restored an old train station, bringing to life the train cars and engines.  We have had many visits over the fence, or standing on the driveway about trains, and stations, and railways in Saskatchewan.  He knew every track that was laid, which ones were being torn up, the way the towns in Saskatchewan were named alphabetically along the tracks, the history of the railroad.  The year that I used trains as an analogy for speaking at Redberry, reading Pierre Burton's books on the Canadian railroad, Keith took me to the museum for a tour (just at the junction of the #7 and the Pike Lake Road).  It is a wonderful place. 

When we moved into the neighborhood, I was in a hurry to hang pictures on the walls.  Didn't want to wait till the boxes were completely unpacked, and besides, had no idea where the hammer might be. I went next door, and asked Keith if he would happen to have a hammer handy, that we could borrow for a moment.  He informed me that I had come to the right place - he had a hammer in every room.  Over the years we were to discover that he had the right tool for every job.  When ice accumulated on the driveway - he had a heavy de-icer.  When digging out my shrub in the front yard, Fran informed me that they had just the right spade for that job - hanging on the back of the garage.

He lent us his green truck when it was time to load up our flower baskets and climbing morning glory screens for Josie and Mitch's wedding.

Much of what Keith did was behind the scenes ... something that doesn't take place on centre stage.  But if you paid attention with your peripheral vision, you'd see Keith coming and going, or in the yard; slowly, and methodically doing the things that needed doing.

Last night  the comings and goings came to an end.

The neighborhood will miss you.  The Klassens will miss you.
Peace to the family as you grieve this wonderful, and kind man.