Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Requiem: David Dickens

I wish I had a good picture of David Dickens.
This is a better picture of his wife, Deborah, than of David, 
but I never thought to take any of him.
I borrowed this from his Facebook page.
I have talked about him on this blog before,
but I didn't use his name, 
I called him "the man who knew how to do everything."
I think here they are enjoying a night on the town, with friends.

Several times on this blog I have mentioned someone who has helped us with his handyman skills many times over the past several years. Here is a link to one post in which I listed some of the things he did for us.  I had an email from him on August 8, saying he would check the house before we got back for us. Then I heard nothing else. We left to come back on September 8th, and spent a few days with our grandchildren in Plumas County. When we got back I still hadn't heard from him. My email telling him when we would be back was never answered. Then I looked for his daughter's Facebook page and found a notice that he had died on September 2nd. I don't know what the cause was, but pray that he was never in too much pain. Even though he had been through a serious illness, deep down I always expected him to help me with things like the replacement of the icemaker on our old refrigerator. This and that might now never get fixed or improved, He installed or repaired toilets and rewired lamps, too. There seemed to be nothing he couldn't do. Rest in peace, dear friend.

We first met him when the termite inspector said we needed some work done on dry rot on the eaves. He recommended David to us and he fixed it. Thus our history of his fixing began. We have lived in this house since 1967, so this and that often that needs fixing. In addition to all the repair and remodeling described in this post, there was the event of the roof rat invasion. On one of our seasons in Michigan, roof rats took advantage of a small break in the wire mesh that covered a ventilation hole in the side of the garage. During our absence, they chewed through and ate 1)two small covered plastic garbage cans full of dog food, 2) the bottoms of three other empty cans and several other plastic containers, 3) the 1 1/2 inch diameter inflow and outflow hoses for the water softener 4) large portions of a small clear drainage hose from the furnace/air-conditioner that ran all across the ceiling, 5) about a three-foot section of the plastic gasket that runs along the bottom of the garage door. And much much more! Of course, there was also some water leakage. It was horrifying. He repaired everything! Some it it was better when he got through than it had been before. And he closed the means of access for the rats--we haven't had any since!!

But enough of all this peculiar history. I started out to write a requiem for the David Dickens I knew.
The one who showed me a dragonfly he had carved from wood for a present. The one who was interested in my plants and who asked for starts of some of my succulents. The one who help me pick out paint colors and selected birch doors with beautiful grain to replace our ugly ones. The one who talked to me about art. The one who hung plants on the deck and pictures indoors for me. The one who sat down and chatted with us after every visit, and told us about his parents and ancestors back east. The one who we saw through his battles with melanoma; we thought he was winning when we left. The one who talked about the deaths of his parents, one at a time. The one who eased Deborah through her losing battle with melanoma. The one who wore his long hair in a knot on the top of his head, held there with a pencil stuck through it, and often stowed under a big hat. The one who brought a big canister to drink from while he worked. The one who talked endlessly about his daughter's wedding. And about his ancestors. He hoped to go back, to family land. The one who fell in love with Margot, the baby granddaughter. The one who loved his cat, Fred, and made a war on gophers in his garden. The one who loved cigars, and created hardwood lighted-cigar stands. There is more, so much more. . .

I'll close with one of the strongest visual images I have of him. It was during the time he removed and replaced our family room/kitchen floor and subflooring. There was termite damage, too, and some studs had to be replaced. There was no light in that room except lamps; all the furniture had been removed to do the work. He was working later than he usually did, on his hands and knees by the light of a table lamp he had set upon the floor near him. His hair had fallen loose, as it rarely did. It caught the light from the lamp and surrounded him with a golden, light-filled halo, like one of those portraits of Jesus. He looked up as I came down the stairs and smiled, a beautiful smile! I want to remember it always.

Rest in peace, gentle friend, June Hopper Hymas

PS. His daughter just shared with with me this very recent photo of him with his granddaughter, who is wearing his hat.

No comments:

Post a Comment