Flonzo was your neighbor like being a neighbor was a sacred responsibility. He was the one knocking on your door at 8:45am to let you know your car was parked on the wrong side of the street and was going to get a ticket if you didn't move it by 9. He was your neighbor who would tell you to have the UPS guy leave the package with him since he would be home all day. He always had a smile, a story; he wanted to know what was going on with you, and wanted you to know what was going on with him and his family--who were his world.
I called Flonzo "the mayor of Myrtle Avenue" because he knew everyone and everyone knew him. The police driving down the street would always stop in front of his house for a chat. Everyone was always stopping by for a chat, a never-ending parade of friends and family members. His house was a hub of family and friends, of activity and community. I always felt safe in the neighborhood because he was always out on the porch, smoking his pipe and watching out for everyone. I had many different roommates over the years I lived on the block, and Flonzo got to know us all.
There's a lot more to be said about Flonzo, and I'm sure it will be celebrated heartily at his funeral next week, which I will unfortunately miss because I'll be out of the country. How much he loved his wife, who passed several years ago, his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. How active he was in his church, the community, and a long list of other things. Too many stories to tell in a day, as he was the kind of man who made an impression on everyone he met. I'm sure there will be a huge outpouring of people who knew and loved him. So many people deeply saddened by the passing of a man who will be so thoroughly missed.
I know his family is deeply religious, comforted by the faith that he is now with God, his beloved wife, Nancy, and other loved ones who have gone before him. No doubt, there are smiles and stories to be shared up there, and the party in Heaven will be more lively with Flonzo around. So his passing, though sorrowful, is also a time for celebration. A celebration of a life well lived, a job well done.
Some folks on a street in Heaven have a good neighbor moving in.
Flonzo and his wife, Nancy