The guy next door was nothing but
A grouchy, mean, old crank
He complained about nearly everything
To put it mildly, to be frank.
Nothing that he ever did was kind
Or considered fair
He would come running out of his house
Dressed in slippers and underwear.
Screaming like a banshee
About us making noise
Said we were a bunch of brats
Who had too many toys.
He’d watch us from the second floor
Of his house right next door
We’d be playing out in our yard
That’s what our yard was for.
“You kids are making too much noise
Shut it down or I’ll call the cops
You better cut it out now
You better make it stop”.
The guy’s name was Otto
He lived in the house alone
His wife had died several years ago
He had no children of his own.
We didn’t know about Alzheimers then
It was a long, long time ago
If we did we could have helped him
But, we simply didn’t know.
One day Otto didn’t come to the window
He stopped yelling out obscenities
His niece showed up one day later
That’s when my mother said to me.
“Otto passed away last night
We’ll be going to the service”
She seemed sad, she started to cry
She seemed a little nervous.
“Shine your shoes, put on your suit
It’s almost time to go”
When we reached the cemetery
Figured there’d be no one there I’d know.
There were just a few people there
Including me and my family
Turns out… Otto was a colonel
In the United States military.
Standing at the gravesite
Dressed in their formal attire
Were six other Marine Officers
Who had also been retired.
We learned that Otto was a hero
He was highly decorated
He’d been wounded while in action
His accomplishments were stated.
Once a professor and a scholar
A man to be respected
But, the disease had overtaken him
His brain had been affected.
We thought he was just… an old crank
A grouchy, old, bitter man
We didn’t know that he was sick
We just didn’t understand.
Image from Google Images: ong.ohio.gov
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