And there he stood…

Bundled up in his sweatshirt and coat, blue sweat pants and tan sneakers, transistor radio forever fixed on news stations… always with a pocket full of treats that would drive Shakes crazy every morning.  I could count on it, just like clockwork… grab a coffee, grab my dog, and head down Aura Ave just before 8:00 am and spend some time with Howard.  I’d have to yell from a few yards away, his sight wasn’t that of of a younger man theses days.  He’d raise his hand, give a smile, and throw a handful of kibble on the sidewalk for the dogs. Some days we’d talk about life in the steel mills during the war.. other days about the “green time” he worked through all those years at Rocketdyne up the road.  Moved out from Pittsburgh in ‘55, left his job at US Steel for a better way out west working in aerospace… mechanical engineering.  Familiar enough story for a lot of guys in this part of the state… my own grandfather came out from Boston in ‘65 for an engineering job at Lockheed.  Howard met Gladys at 15 years old, on a pair of rollerskates, and without knowing started an adventure that would last them more than 64 years.  Some days we’d talk about family trips to the National Parks in a station wagon.. some days he’d talk about his grand-daughter, about to finish pharmacy school up north…  If he can only make it to her graduation that would be something…  breakfast meetings with the guys at the Coco’s up the road for those that made it through to retirement… stories of layoff and profiling, accidents in the mills to weekend projects around the house…  he never could seem to get rid of the callers asking for See’s Candy shop as long as he was listed in the book… and that damn IRS, is it possible they could make a form any harder to understand these days?…

We said goodbye to Howard Seese this week.  He took one last drive with his best friend and wife down Victory Blvd… one he’d known since it was just a dirt path past Mason… got back to the house he had raised a family in… had roots in… sat in his favorite chair, leaned back, and started his way on the next great adventure beyond this one.  

I already miss you, old friend. It took you just under a year to teach me quite a bit about life and love and the adventure in front of me.  I’ll be thinking of that smile and that laugh every time I make my way down Aura Ave, and every cup of coffee I have just before 8:00.   Rest In Peace Howard.  

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