By Jonathan McCarty, Contributor firstname.lastname@example.org
MARSHALL – As a child, I had a number of influences on my life. Older people who had been around before me. They had, of course, seen and done things that I might never consider. One such person was Mr. Adolph Firchau, who was my neighbor for twenty years.
Mr. Adolph was a man of slightly above average height, a warm, loving smile, and a kind heart. He had married Mrs Lela Shaklee, who had been my neighbor since I was a child. They were happy together. Happier than I had ever seen most people; especially when playing dominoes.
Mr. Adolph enjoyed working in his yard, and tinkering. Boy, did he love to tinker. That was one of his gifts to the world. Like my grandfather, Mr Adolph had a mind for all things technical. He had worked for Ford in an assembly plant in his youth, and his array of tools and mechanical aptitude could actually rival my grandfather.
Over the years, Mr Adolph taught me a lot of things. The first one, a memory which I shared with him before he passed on, was how to seal a paper boat with wax. I know that seems childish and silly, but it was something that I won’t ever forget.
It was just those little things that he did, or that people in general do, that make up who and what we are. I remember helping this man put a roof on his shed, re-lay a piece of broken sewer line, and many more things.
But, the small moments where he and I would just sit and discuss something meant more to me than the world. They’re what helped him become not only my neighbor, but my friend.
Mr Adolph was born in Detroit, Michigan on August 21, 1926. I never knew what brought him to Marshall, Texas. But, I am glad he was here. I am glad to have had him as my neighbor.
My friend left us on April 19, 2016 after having gone home to Michigan with his family one final time. I remember saying goodbye to him after having sat in his kitchen eating fried chicken and coleslaw. Mrs Lela sat to my left and nibbled on a cookie.
Even though I knew that he would be leaving that day, it didn’t feel final. Mr Adolph had always gone on trips across the country, and he took my hand and reminded me that this was just another vacation.
Now, when I look across the street at the closed door, and turned out lights, I remember his laugh, his smile, and his company. He was a funny man, and a great man.