In 2003, a few years after I moved here, Dad was helping me with some home repairs and Father Metsy, one of my neighbors, shuffled up to us. He was a sweet man, a retired Catholic priest, who had also retired from the Air Force the same year Dad did. He was in his 80's, and was a familiar sight shuffling back and forth to his mail box each day. Occasionally I would see him with the stub of a cigar in his hand. On that particular day, he wanted to know if Dad could help to get his bird house cleaned out and put back up.
He loved to sit on his back porch and watch the sparrows flying in and out along the beach as they hunted for small insects and raised their young.
Of course, Dad stopped what he was doing to help him, and the two of them talked about life in the Air Force, living near the water, carpentry work, and birds. It was an interesting conversation to listen to, but what has stuck in my memory is the easy flow of words between them.
Father Metsy had a major stroke in May 2008 while I was away on vacation. I went to visit him as soon as I got back, and several times after that until he was transferred to a Catholic care facility. He never recovered, and eventually passed away on the 23rd of January 2010. He was 89 years old. I went to the Rosary that was said for him.
His birdhouse still stands in the back of the townhouse where he used to live. I see it every day when I take the dogs for a walk along the beach. And every day it brings both of these men into my thoughts ... and the easy flow of words between them, like the waves washing along the shore as I walk.