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Monday, December 11, 2006

Mr. Soto

One of my neighbors from my old block, Mr. Soto, died on Friday morning. He was a wonderful man and joy to know. A retired server from a five star restaurant, he would sit on his porch when the weather cooperated and always had a wise crack at my expense. His thick Puerto Rican accent, blunt honesty, and mischievous smile were a unique and lively combination. Sometimes I would leave the house and walk to the corner store just to have an excuse to go stand on the sidewalk in front of his porch and trade jokes with him. Once he made a fancy dinner for myself and a girl I was dating. He hooked up his dining room with candles and served a four course meal with appropriate wine pairings. Mr. Soto's smiles and one-liners were the kinds of things that make neighborhood living so rich - casual encounters communicating love among neighbors in just the right dosage. I never doubted that Mr. Soto was on my side, rooting for my well-being and cheering me on as I completed college, entered the work force, and tried to figure out women. He came to my baptism and a couple of other significant events in the lives of me and my friends. His consistent encouragement and friendship will be sorely missed.

I spent a couple of hours with the family on Friday afternoon. His wife Angie was inconsolable and his children were trying to find the balance of gravity and humor. I felt honored to spend that time with them and hoped that my presence there would let them know how special Mr. Soto was to those of us who knew him.

3 comments:

Christe said...

I loved Mr. and Mrs. Soto soooo much. They made a similar dinner for us neighbors (sans romance) but with all the class imaginable, (I think you were there, right Ryan?) They came to Q and my wedding. A few months later, Mr. Soto was concerned that Q was not treating me right because I had lost some weight. I had to assure him over and over that Q is a wonderful husband, and did not FORCE me to lose weight!!! I felt loved by them. They were concerned for my well being. Rest in peace, Mr. Soto.
love, Komski

Ryan Kellermeyer said...

Sweet. A comment from Komski!

I remember when Mr. Soto was worried about Q. I thought that was pretty funny, but it was obvious how much he cared. If I remember correctly, the weight loss had more to do with not working graveyard shift anymore.

Erin said...

Really sorry for your loss. Sounds like quite a man.