Thursday, December 10, 2009
My Mama's Neighborhood
At Thanksgiving lunch, my mother came in a little late for her, which was 30 minutes before we ate. Knowing she is usually an hour early, I was concerned. And she looked a little frazzled. When I asked her if she was ok, she replied, "Well, yes I think so." "Did something happen?" "No, but I'm not sure I got the oyster pies right." You can do those in your sleep. "I thought so. But I was in the middle of fixing them and someone knocked on my back door. I opened it up and there was Betty. She was walking her dog and just wanted to stop by and wish me a 'Happy Thanksgiving'. I told her I appreciated that but I was busy cooking and didn't have time to chat." Oh, that was nice of her. "But that's not all. Then about ten minutes later, the phone rings and it's my neighbor Carolyn. And she thinks that it would be a good time for a Thanksgiving prayer." "And . . . ", I say. "I just told her 'Carolyn I just don't have time to pray right now but I hope you have a good Thanksgiving'."
Now a little background here, my mother lives in a neighborhood of patio homes. Since they are all one street and they all have time on their hands, everyone knows everything that goes on. As the houses were being built, and went on the market, they could tell you the make and licence tag of every car that came by and looked at the house. Given a day or two, they even knew their names. When one neighbor passed (at the age of 93) they were very industrious at making sure her home was sold to an acceptable type. (No one with young children or overnight visitors who would park on the street.)
When a very flamboyant florist bought one of the homes, they immediately called an emergency homeowners' meeting to make sure everyone knew the homeowner rules, so if, God forbid, he strayed they could set him straight. I told her he was harmless and, what the heck, he would definitely have a landscaped yard and decorate for Christmas. Well, that sent her into orbit. "You don't understand," she said, "we do very well with our landscaper. We like everything to match. And, Christmas, I can only imagine what he will do. Probably lights every where. You know, we don't like lights."
One thing for sure, they are a lively bunch. She enjoys them and they are all a support group for each other but make it very clear that they are fiercely independent. I have made sure to get to know as many of them as possible, although I feel that it is unnecessary. I am sure they know a lot more about me than I would care to tell.