The street I live on, rocks. It's the kind of neighborhood most people don't believe exists anymore. It's almost like a small town in itself, or a village. Everybody knows everybody, not in a casual wave because we happen to live on the same block kind of way, but in a we actually like hanging out together kind of way. Our kids have all grown up together, gone to the same schools together, and shared some of life's crazy experiences together. I won't lie. It's not always smiles and tra la la. There's been drama, and arguments and rivalry; pretty much like a normal family in some ways. And that's what we are: a big extended family. I have more kids that call me "mom" than the old lady that lived in a shoe. People can move away, but they still remain "Blackthornians". There are even a few honorary Blackthornians: those who haven't ever lived on the block, but have participated so many times in our events that they have become a part of us. By the way, I'm not talking about an occasional BBQ or birthday party. I'm talking camp-outs, trips to the beach, Easter egg hunts, Posadas, Talent Shows, 4th of July block parties, cookie exchanges, Halloween costume parties, summer bashes "just because". The list goes on.
One of our neighbors, Steve, was one of the driving forces for these events. He, and his wife Karen, organized some of the best events and parties. We came to call Steve "The Mayor of Blackthorne". He always seemed to greet everyone a big smile, a big hug and a welcoming personality. He had his faults. We all do.
Yesterday, Steve passed away. It was so sudden, most of us couldn't even process the thought. One of our own, was gone: someone our age; someone who had been such a big part of all our lives, and the lives of our children.
When my son was very small, he wandered away from our house. We were frantic. Everyone came out and helped to search for our little one. Steve was the one who found him. I only just remembered that. Funny how memories work sometimes, but it's those memories that we are left with. It's those 4th of July, Halloween Elvis, Pictionary Party memories that will keep Steve with us.
He'll always be the one and only, Mayor of Blackthorne.
Caren E. Salas