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Some people are in our lives for a long time, but they exist in the periphery.  They are always there, whether it is a wave in the morning on the way to work, a brief chat while waiting to pick your kids up from a school or a sporting event, sitting next to someone on the bus or train on the way to work every day, or a neighbor who you stop to chat with every once in awhile, or who even helps you out from time to time around the house.

But without really realizing it, they have an effect on your life.  Simple gestures and brief conversations often leave lasting memories, even when you are not really aware of it…until something happens that makes you stop and take a long hard look at them.

My parents had that kind of neighbor.

I’d known him more than half my life, I was 14 when we moved into the neighborhood (they lived there already) and let’s just say I’m well over 28 right now.

Last week, at only 60 years old, a fall sent him to the hospital and eventually home – his eternal home.

If there was ever a man who heard these words “well done, good and faithful servant”, it had to be Al.

I have a lot of good memories of him, mostly of being picked on and one time even being picked up and carried through the yard and deposited in a dumpster.  He pulled me out eventually…  Even though he liked to joke and have fun, one thing was always certain – he cared about people.

He will be missed…

And that was crystal clear during the visitation with the family today.  I swear there had to be 100 people that passed through in the hour we waited in line to offer our condolences, and 100 more behind us.

For his family….

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  1. Phyllis Friesema says

    Thank You Kim!
    I haven’t had the courage to read more comments on the caring Bridge site for a while so it took me till today to read yours. He would have been so surprised to realize what an impact he had on most people. He really was a humble man. The song is one I have loved since I first heard it and it fits Al so well. He’s in heaven with Dale now and I’m a bit jealous. Your kind caring words mean a lot to me. I miss him so very much.

    • says


      I think about you often, I hope you are doing ok.

      So many people are admired for their skills and talents. And while Al had physical skills (woodworking, etc) that he used in so many different ways, including to help people, he had a much more profound gift.

      God worked through him to affect people’s lives in such a subtle, but important way. I will always think of Al as someone who truly tried to live like Jesus lived.

      For me, in life and even in his death, he stands as an example of the kind of person I would like to be – and so do you.

  2. says

    so sorry to hear this. I’ve been trying to get over here ever since you posted a comment on my blog about my aunts passing and just got the chance. I am so sorry for your loss but it sure sounds like he was well loved and appreciated by yourself and many others. Big virtual hugs to you and any of his loved ones who need them.

    Oh and I love that song too!

  3. Victoria says

    Sad, and I know what you mean about those people that are kind of just with you. Had several neighbors like that growing up…

  4. says

    So sorry to hear about your folks neighbor. 60 is young these days. He was undoubtedly loved and cared for though and will be missed. Mr. Paisley’s and Dolly’s song was a perfect tribute.

  5. says

    Sorry for your loss, Kim. It’s so sad when one of the good ones pass.

    Prayers for his family and friends are going up. {hug}

  6. Dawn says

    I’m very sorry for your loss. That was a beautiful tribute for him and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you and his family.

  7. says

    So sorry for your loss! (((hugs)) I hope he is resting now peacefully while still being able to look down and laugh and pick on you from time to time! lol ;)


  8. Mary says

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your good friend. From the number of people at the visitation, he undoubtedly had many people who cared about him.

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