I saw my neighbor Angelo again yesterday. I was relieved to see him standing out front of his son’s place where he has a father-in-law apartment. I pulled my car over. He reached in the window and gave me a fist bump. As usual, he beamed his big snaggle-toothed grin and asked me how I’d been. He’s deeply tanned from sitting in the sun a lot. He’s short, has bright azure eyes, and thick forearms—not the wasted muscles that men his age usually have.
I hadn’t seen my 94-year-old buddy for about a month and I was getting worried. I was out-of-town for a week last month and I wondered if he was okay. I thought maybe he’d been over in Daytona visiting his daughter. He said, “No, I see her every Wednesday.” He stated he’d been fine when I said I was worried because I hadn’t seen him.
He said, “You know I’ll be turning 95 in a few weeks. Maybe I’ll make a century.” I told him I thought he had a good shot at it. I asked if his son and daughter-in-law were going to give him a party next month to celebrate. He said, “Nah, I’ll probably just say some prayers and have a piece of cake.” Angelo is very much a Jesus-follower. He wears a big wooden cross around his neck.
Seeing Angelo always brightens my day. He kind of radiates the Joy of the Lord. And talking with him is better than watching the History Channel. He can reminisce about his 22 missions as a ball turret gunner on a B-24, about seeing Babe Ruth throw the kids from his Bronx neighborhood dimes or about how his dad sang with Enrique Caruso. I’ve blogged about Angelo eight or nine times before.
The Lord has blessed me with introductions to some extraordinary people, and Angelo is pretty close to the top of the list.