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Meet the Neighbors: Part III

12/07/2012

Stan drove a tank during World War II. He served on Iwo Jima. I learned this on Veteran’s Day.

I was in the garage staining a dining room chair when I went across the street to look at a tree in Stan’s front yard. The gnarly, old tree looked like it sneaked out from under the front porch bending its way over the house. It had an X on the trunk.

“Does the X mean they’re going to cut it down?”

“They’re gonna cut it down,” said Stan. He paused the leaf blower. “The big branch on the other side is hollow.”

I chatted with Stan for a while.He told me he grew up in the house next to mine. He noted the current owners had a broken front window.

I told him I was from Minnesota.

He seemed mildly impressed.

“My wife went to nursing school there,” he said “But I brought her back home.”

That’s when Stan told me he dropped out of Bangor High School to fight in World War II.  Now Stan must be well over 80 years old  but he still looks like he could drive a tank through a machine gun nest. He had bright white hair. Red puffy cheeks and was wearing a cap with ear flaps.

I brought up Veteran’s Day. Thanked him for his service. “It’s pretty amazing what you guys did,” I said.

“They told us we could come home afterwards but they wound up sending us to China instead,” he said. This sparked a little chuckle.

Things seemed to have worked out OK for Stan. He said he has a couple of children and one lives in Bangor. He also has grand children to keep track of … one lived upstairs for awhile.

Then we both got back to work.

A few minutes later Stan was out in the street poking at a broken branch with a long metal pole. The branch was hung up on another branch 10 feet over his head. His adult daughter stood by his side. The broken branch and metal pole danced dangerously close to a power line. Then it fell to the ground. Stan’s daughter let out a cheer.

“Persistence pays off,” she said.

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