he's known here, though, and that's important to him. not as some local celebrity but as "uncle harold," a regular and constant, consistent presence in the village. I've written previously about the effect this has on him, this being acknowledged and recognized as a member of the community and that hasn't lessened with my mother's death, only increased. we sat tonight on the porch of the local store and I counted at least 2 dozen cars and trucks whose drivers lifted a hand at sight of my dad (not a one in the direction of my cousin or his wife, owners of the porch we sat on, and sitting on the other end; my dad remarked later on that, saying, "well, they don't wave or say 'hi' to any of those people so I don't know what they expect otherwise").
last night, before I arrived, his new neighbor got drunk and tried using the mailbox on the corner like an atm (or so my dad interpreted his shoving his bankcard in and quickly out several times) and before anyone else could see he brought him up onto the porch to sit and chitterchatter until he sobered, and failing that took his hand and walked him to his trailer where my dad called his wife out to take him inside, telling her he "ought to lie down for a while". today the neighbor came by with a sheepish look and a plate of stillwarm homebaked cookies.
at 1 point in my life I fantasized I could live in a village this tiny and empty. I don't know now if I could, but I could live with stillwarm homebaked cookies.