Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Grass Is Always Greener

I mentioned song lyrics and Lynyrd Skynyrd a couple posts back, one of their songs I always liked is The Ballad of Curtis Loew and thinking of this song reminds me of a good friend I had while we lived in New Mexico.

David lived across the street and I really didn’t get to know him well until I retired, I would be out in the garage working on something to pass the time and look across the street and see him doing the same, I crossed the street to introduce myself and it wasn’t long that we were talking every single day, I’d open my garage door in the morning and sip my coffee until his garage opened then our day began.

David was a large man with a resounding laugh that you could hear all over the neighborhood, we all called him Big Dave except for little Emily who called him The Hulk, he was a very intelligent man who had retired from the Air Force as a Jet Engine Mechanic and Electronics Engineer, he had a lot of degrees to back up his claims and anything mechanical he could either fix or show you how, advise on which car to buy “Big Dave” was the man to ask, once we were looking at a small pickup for Randy and Big Dave came over to give it a look, Dave would never walk right up to a vehicle and raise the hood, he would start about a half block away and completely look it over, he glanced at the way it sat and how the doors aligned, he looked at the tires and looked underneath for the typical leaks and other things that only Dave knew, once he was satisfied he would raise the hood then ask for the vehicle to be started, on this particular truck Dave said the price was fair and he would not be scared to own it, only thing he said the water pump would be failing in four months and for Randy to save his money and buy one ahead of time, “When it goes out, park it in my driveway and I’ll show you how to change it out”, exactly four months later it failed and Randy was under the hood with Dave pointing the way through the repairs.

Big Dave was a man of common sense in spite of his education, and whenever he was needed he was there whether to calm my wife down, water the forgotten lawn while we were gone, or to run off the guy who was where he wasn’t supposed to be, yes Dave as I mentioned before was a large man with a deep voice, he never raised his voice but he had a way and tone that either calmed you down or struck fear inside you depending on what the discussion was about. Once while we were on vacation he told us he would keep an eye on the house and asked who was supposed to be there while we were gone, we told him that Nancy would be taking in the mail and feeding the dogs and Melissa would probably pop in and out while we were away, Melissa did show up one night and had a friend show up soon after she did, this young man was inside the house when a Large Black Man showed up at the door and asked him for his name, told him that he wasn’t supposed to be there and for him to make his way to his car, Melissa stepped in stating he was a friend of hers and Big Dave explained to her that she was allowed since we had told him she would be popping in but we didn’t mention this Boy and that he would be leaving on his own or with some help, the Boy made the wise decision and we could hear Big Dave laughing as Melissa was crying and telling us what he had done to embarrass her.

Cindy and I put in a new lawn, all the way from rotor tilling and removing all the weeds, grub killer and fertilizer and of course new grass seed, roped the area off so no one could walk on it and did the seemingly never ending watering routine to get it all started, Big Dave would come across and sit on the porch and compliment us on our hard work, Cindy made the statement of how good his yard looked and Dave would just smile and Thank her, then she made the mistake of saying “I wish our yard looked as good as yours” Big Dave stood up and laid a hand on her shoulder and said “Follow me child” and started across the street, I followed along because I knew this was going to be good and by the time I got there Cindy was looking at Dave’s lawn and he was saying “Now it don’t look so good up close does it” Cindy was amazed at how well it looked from our porch, he pointed and told her to look back at our lawn from where we were standing it looked lush and green with no bare spots showing, with the mention of this Dave told her “The Grass is always greener on the other side of the street” and in Big Dave style began jumping and laughing that loud laugh that made you feel good all over.

Dave had a heart attack and was air lifted to Lubbock Texas where he underwent surgery and beat all the odds given him, he returned home and soon we were sitting on our porch listening to him laugh and watching him jump up and down in the happy manner he had, he mentioned the work going on at his house and that he wanted a metal lizard and a cactus for the yard, he laughed about the color choice which he called pink and was really back to being himself, next morning the garage door didn’t open and we found out later that he was back in Lubbock and was now on dialysis, we loaded up in the van to go see him stopping to pick up a card I ran across a cactus plant and picked it up, I told Cindy at least we would be half way to the metal lizard and cactus dream for Dave and on our way out of the store hanging on a shelf there was the metal lizard we added to our purchase, Dave got such a laugh out of this and told us they would be placed in his yard, he looked at me and asked “How is my house looking Jim?” I told him “Well Dave I hate to tell you this man, but It’s Pink”, to which he laughed loudly, we had a good time visiting with Dave and his wife that Saturday and told him we would return on Monday to see him again, we made the hour and a half drive home and his Daughter was crossing the street to our house, she was crying and those tears told us Dave was gone.

The Ballad Of Curtis Loew was one of the songs that was most always playing while he was visiting in my garage he and I listened to that song a million times I know, and now here I was sitting sipping my coffee watching the garage door not open across the street.

Play me a song Curtis Leow … hey Curtis Leow
I wish that you was here so everyone would know
People said you were useless … them people all are fools
'Cause Curtis you're the finest picker to ever play the blues

Mmmmm …


  1. Dave sounds like the kind of neighbor that makes getting to know your neighbors worth it! So do you and Cindy. We've lived in this house for 33 years and in that time, there have only been a few like that.

  2. Such a touching post, Jimmy.
    Know that someday you will see Dave again when you meet your Lord...and you will hear his hearty laugh for all eternity.

  3. Oh Jimmy, I never even met Dave, and yet, this post made me weep. So beautifully written. I got a crystal clear image of who this man was.

    a BIG man....with a BIG heart.

    Loved the whole "The grass is always greener on the other side of the street."

    I'm so glad you and he were friends. Don't you love how certain people will come into our lives and touch us so deeply, they leave a lasting impression?

    Thanks so much for sharing this story, buddy!

  4. Thank You Ms A, You are so right, some neighbors you just never get close to, we had one set that were still there when we moved and they always just stuck to themselves, that’s OK but I’d rather get to know the folks living next to me, Dave was one of those you wanted to be around because he loved life and he was a lot of fun.

    Good Morning Joe, Yes Sir that laugh is something I do miss hearing and one day I know I will smile when I hear it again.

    Morning Ron, “Don't you love how certain people will come into our lives and touch us so deeply, they leave a lasting impression?” He was defiantly one of those people, there is a special place in heaven for those people who get so deep into your heart.

  5. Every body needs a Big Dave in their life.. I love people like him.. Just warm and fun.. You did him right proud here Jimmy.. Look up and see the clouds moving..That's Big Dave laughing :-)

  6. Amen to that one Lynne, this old world needs more people like him and I bet he is looking down with that laugh going :)

  7. Awww Jimmy. You got me crying in my coffee this morning. What a sweet and loving tribute to your larger than life friend. He's the kind of person that you love to have as a neighbor, friend and family member. I love the part about Melissa and the boy. Priceless!

  8. Whew! That one got to me...
    He sounds like a great guy who is not soon to be forgotten.
    Great moving post Jimmy.

  9. Good Morning Peg, Thank you so much he was something else, the deal with Melissa was priceless as she was telling us what had happened you could hear him laughing, he never interuppted her but came over to tell us his side, said he didn't like the looks of "That Boy" and that boy never came back :)

  10. Morning Pat, I am proud you enjoyed the post and you are so right this man is not one to be forgotten.

  11. What a wonderful post! To have had such a great friend was truly a blessing.

  12. Thank You Heather, A true friend like this is truly a blessing, you said that right my Dear Friend.


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