This morning, as I was sitting on my porch, having my coffee, I heard a ton of sirens. I turned on the scanner, to hear of an MVA near Mission Ridge.
I was told by a good friend to pray for the individual, as it was a really bad situation, but I was not given a name; only that the patient was in extremely bad shape. Life Flight was not an option, and the patient was transported to J.M.H.
My parents came to my house after 5pm Mass this evening. My mom was in tears. We lost a very dear life-long (for me, anyway), friend this morning, some of you might remember him as our valiant mail-man of many years. He was on point with EVERYTHING, an incredible father, and beyond dedicated husband. Though he chose to live on the mountain, his wife lived in down town Harper's Ferry proper.
This morning, we lost Mr. Frank Cummings. This gentleman was the epitome of class. He was a fountain of knowledge about Nature, the woodlands, the forest animals, he had his own natural preserve just on the opposite side of Mission Tabernacle Church, w/ a cabin home he built with his own 2 hands. He had 3 lakes, all stocked with catfish. Mom, Dad, David and I would always go and visit with him, spending evenings into the late nights just talking about everything under the sun, esp around his pot-belly stove on the cold nights.
He had an awesome mule named, Jesse. We would spend our time feeding and catch / releasing his catfish. We would take long walks around his property, as he taught our family about mountain life. He was the one that gave my brother and me legitimate cherry switches for Christmas. This was great for when we would get into trouble.... He made sure NOT to tell us about picking the thinnest one, because it "wouldn't hurt", and made sure our parents knew the secret.
He introduced my Mom to canoeing. She loved those trips. She still brings them up whenever I go kayaking, and he even forgave her when she accidentally dropped his camera into the Shenandoah, (DOH!)
He admired everything in and about Nature. He was more than just a "mail-man". He took the time to talk to everyone about everything at the (now Gate 3) mail shed. He wasn't a fan of the cluster boxes, but he knew they were on the way. He finally retired to his mountain cabin, going back and forth to spend time w/ his wife, Jane. He and Jane have 3 boys, all grown now. His son John just happens to be in town visiting at this time. I'm sure this wasn't what was on the itinerary.
For the past several months, Frank had been going back and forth between his home, and the care facility where his wife Jane currently resides. She isn't in the greatest shape, but she knows he's there.
Losing someone is never, EVER easy. However, everything happens for a reason. Of course we are sad when people have to leave us. Given Jane's current situation, and knowing Frank's undying love for her, he was here for her in this lifetime. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this happened so he can be there to greet her when it's her time. I tried to explain this to my Mom this evening. It is the only thing that makes sense to me.
Congratulations, Frank. You've graduated to the next level. You've helped to instill many things in my life. You have given me many fond memories. I can still pick out the smell of Indian Pipe in the woods without fail. I still know how to keep soda and/or beer cold on a hot summer day by putting it into a cold running stream. I know how to catch a catfish w/ the best of 'em, and I know never EVER take Mother Nature for granted.
I'm glad you'll be there to welcome your loving wife when she also graduates. See you on the other side, Old Friend
Please keep Jane and his sons in your prayers, as they will be giving Jane the news tomorrow, 9/9/12/
*Edited for final thought*
As I sit and think of it all, he also passed right where he was supposed to - on the mountain he adored, right up from the river he loved...