Last fall, I met a man in front of his home in Hamtramck. His told me that his name was Mr. Ben Jaros, that he was 97 years old and had lived each of those years in this very house (except for the ones when he was enlisted in World War II). I snapped a photo in front of the house with the intention of sending it to him one day and taking him out to coffee or breakfast or polish food and soaking up his stories. I knew he had many to share and our brief encounter gave me the impression that he just might like to tell them.
My intent was sincere but non-urgent and life is busy. I planned to get to it the next time I printed photos, but over a year passed and I never got around to it. Finally, I got the photo printed and a week or too after that I bought a frame. It sat in the passenger seat of my car for another while until I finally made the time to visit. I wanted to leave a large open window of time just in case the a spontaneous impromptu interview should await me. I knocked but no one was home, more time passed until I found a moment for another visit.
Tonight, I stopped by.
The lights were off and a neighbor was walking by with her fuzzy golden doodle. I asked her if her neighbor was home, pointing to the house that matched my photograph. She looked at me with confusion and said something polish until her husband stepped up. I repeated my question to him and he confirmed my fears: “That man, he died, about one month ago.”