Loving Your Neighbor, Post #1

Bob turned 95 years old in August. His bright, blue eyes sparkled behind his thick, smudged glasses. His black cardigan sweater was his uniform, soiled with food and drinks missed by his mouth and napkin. His mind was sharp and his sense of humor lightened every setting. His Canon camera hung round his neck always ready to capture each moment.

Bob served as the patriarch of our neighborhood cul-de-sac. Retiring from Chicago as a graphic artist, Bob and his wife Lee paid $50,000 cash in 1986 for his Charleston home to be built. His firm was instrumental in creating the Coca-Cola Santa Claus. More importantly, he created a customized watercolor card for each of us for our birthdays and designed a beautiful pen and ink Charleston scene as his Christmas card each year. He was a legend.  Bob’s wife passed away in 1993 and he never remarried. He lived alone. We as neighbors adopted him.

Both my grandfathers passed away before I was born, so Bob became my surrogate grandfather.   He has four children, three who live in Illinois and one in California. As neighbors we worked together daily to take him meals, remind him to take his medications, drive him to Wal-mart, and take him to the barber shop. My special job was to accompany him with his walker on a stroll several times a week around the cul-de-sac for some sunshine and exercise.

Recently, both Bob and the neighbors realized he was getting too frail and medically dependent to live alone. He and his children decided he would move to Illinois to live with one of the daughters. Bob took the news pretty well and just kept talking about the cold. He slowly began to gather boxes and we helped him pack his most prized possessions, like his photographic scrapbooks, chronicling almost each moment.

On August 2, the neighbors and I threw a 95th birthday and farewell party for Bob at his church along with his children and Optimist Club friends.  In all about 100 people attended. His pastor said it was the first party of its kind he had seen with the person still in the room, still there to hear the sweet accolades instead of waiting until the honored guest had passed away. Bob had no doubt he was loved. He flew to Illinois the same day the moving truck came for his belongings. He didn’t have to see the For Sale sign being put in the front yard.  Bob passed away on September 26th of pneumonia, less than two months after he moved.

My life is so much better for having loved, learned from and laughed with Bob.

Reflect:

  • Who is your Bob (neighbor)?
  • Who can you love on a little more?

Renew:

  • “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” –Mark 12:30, 31.

Recharge:

  • Name one neighbor or person you will intentionally reach out to as we approach this season of Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s calling and taking a picnic basket to your older neighbor or a loved one in an assisted living facility. Perhaps it’s riding bicycles with some neighbors and their children. It takes just a few moments.
  • Please let me know what you decide to do.

Resource:

  • Robert “Bob” Anderson’s art legacy lives on. Please consider purchasing one of his beautiful “Charleston Orphan House” prints as a gift at the Shops of Historic Charleston Foundation, 108 Meeting Street in Charleston. (843) 724-8484.
Print Friendly
Leave a comment here | 10 Comments

Comments

  1. Well said, Danya.

  2. Stephanie Dillon says:

    Danya, you are such an inspiration by living your faith so intentionally! I am going to reach out to my neighbor and friend Tracey who is currently at Duke recovering from major surgery and will be going through a long recovery. Love you!

    • Stephanie, thank you so much for your encouragement and letting me know about your neighbor friend Tracey. I will keep her in my prayers. Please keep me posted. Love you!

  3. Danya, Thank you for taking the leap into sharing your thoughts on a blog. I am about to do likewise and love that we are like minded in our passions and mentors. This blog made me think of several of our neighbors. Leaf raking is the sport/hobby in Southern Oregon this time of the year. My daughters and I will be out today taking care of someones yard. Random leaf-picker-uppers… sounds interesting? love to you sister.

    • Dear Helen, thank you for reaching out from Oregon! It sounds like you are doing a great job of loving on your neighbors through raking neighbors’ leaves with your sweet daughters. Please keep me posted. Love to you!

  4. Mona Dukes says:

    Be Oh Be…like a good neighbor, let us be there! Good show, sus!

    • My big sus, thank you for your sweet shout-out and ode to B-O-B. You are a gifted writer, and I look forward to some of your wise counsel. You have a big in you. 🙂 Love you much.

  5. Robert D. Sojourner says:

    Dear Danya, “Loving Your Neighbor,” Thank you for this one dedicated to Bob Anderson. I, too am thankful that Bob entered my life first as an Optimist Club member and grew to be an elder friend to me and my family. Bob’s neighbors are the perfect example of yesterday’s neighbor responsibility coming to life in today’s world. It is good to see that Bob’s wide brush stroke spirit continues to inspire others. My close neighbor’s, an older lady and her ill son are receiving needed support from my wife and I . You are the best. Love you!

  6. Dear Bob, It is because of Bob Anderson that you and I came to be friends. Thank you for your leadership and loving on Bob Anderson as an Optimist Club. I’m so glad you are reaching out to your close neighbor. Please keep me posted. I’m so proud of you.

Please Leave a Reply