“Harold!” shrieked the voice across my neighbor’s yard.
‘Harold, get in here!”
I and certainly everyone else in the neighborhood now knew that Harold was being called. To my surprise, the man himself, standing on the other side of our common fence watering his flowers, did not seem to notice. In fact, there was not the slightest trace of recognition that he’d heard his summons.
Smiling, Harold said, “that corn of yours is looking mighty fine, almost ready to pick.”
I nodded in agreement.
“Never had much luck with vegetables, so I just stick with flowers,” he added, smiling with pride at his little patch of pansies.
Harold was retired, had a nice head of white hair, excepting for the bald spot which was always covered with some sort of hat, and he was blessed with an eternally pleasant personality. I never knew a mean word to escape from his mouth. I always enjoyed our over the fence chats, particularly when his wife was not nagging him.
“Harold, get in here right now!”
As he continued drowning his flowers, I realized that while anyone within a block of his house could hear the wife’s belligerent commands, Harold had tuned her out. Not a hint of displeasure, a grimace, nothing showed on his face but that benign smile. Yet his hearing was fine, as evidenced by our continued conversation.
“Fine summer day, don’t you think?” he asked.
I think of Harold’s beatific tranquility when my wife’s pestering neediness is about to drive me nuts. I imagine myself standing beside him watering flowers with a big grin on my face.
But, I’ve yet to achieve Harold’s state of Zen peace.
A few years after his wife met her demise, Harold passed on as peacefully as he’d lived. Out driving, he had a heart attack and his car slowly slowed and stopped against a power pole. I sometimes wonder if, as Harold approached those pearly gates, he heard a familiar voice yell out-
“Harold, get in here now!”
Does God have a sense of humor?