I honestly thought this week was going to be a normal week. However, I received a text from my dad while I was at work on Monday that a former neighbor from my youth, Jane Huffman, had passed away.
Now, I’ve written about the Huffmans before. Bill in particular is one of the people that I credit with teaching me the value of working hard to earn my way. While I’ve given Bill some attention, I would like to do the same for Jane in memory of the wonderful woman she was.
Let me just say my family was pretty close with Bill and Jane. I worked for Bill every spring with his apple orchard, and the two would give us a place to get off the bus when my brothers and I were younger too. Picture the really nice neighbors in just about every movie out there. That is the best way to describe Bill and Jane.
I can say for a fact that Jane was one of the nicest people I ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was always ready to listen to anything you had to say and I honestly don’t believe there was a mean bone anywhere close to her body throughout her life. Jane was the kind of woman you could talk to for hours without realizing how much time had passed. In fact, one of the shared memories I have with my brothers involved just that happening.
It was during a day of work picking up the pruned branches from the apple orchard for Bill and I had been thirsty. Whenever we would stop by, Jane would always offer us a Pepsi, and at that time I had been craving one. Upon getting my nice cold Pepsi (it had been quite warm if I remember correctly), I struck up a conversation with Jane. Before I knew it, we were out on the back porch, laughing, talking and generally just enjoying our talk. However, something that didn’t quite come to mind at the time was the fact that while my two brothers were working hard, I was simply sitting there. If I remember correctly, I only left once it was time for us to go for the day. In a similar outcome to the previous outcome I have written about when it comes to Bill, I received significantly less than my brothers for understandable reasons.
Jane was also a very avid baker. It became a tradition for us to look forward to the holidays just to get some kind of tasty treat she made special, just for us. My family was always given a container of snacks that was lucky to survive more than a day, and it was something we were always thankful for.
That was just the way she was, entirely selfless and from my experience, seeing the best in everybody.
In her obituary, Jane is described “she encouraged, loved and changed everyone who crossed her path with her loving, kind spirit.” This is something I can attest to, as I can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if not for the guidance and support she gave me growing up.
Andrew is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-847-4487.