Thursday, September 29, 2005

Neighborhood Bounty

The doorbell just rang. It's not UPS delivery time. The Jehova's Witness ladies and the Mormon boys haven't been around in a while. But I don't see two forms through the blinds (they usually come in pairs). Who could it be? My sweet neighbor L, bearing a plate filled with bounty from her garden. Not too long ago she appeared with a freshly baked cobbler made with more bounty from her garden. I returned her dish with a pumpkin loaf (from a mix, how lame of me, but my garden is not bountiful, and I probably wouldn't grow pumpkins anyway, and it's all I had on hand). It was a yummy pumpkin loaf, though! This is so wonderfully June Cleaver! In all the years I've lived in Suburbia, I've had very little to do with my neighbors. It's a sad thing, the neighborhood dynamic in much of this area. How refreshing to be neighborly! I put the beautiful vegetables on a cobalt blue plate, and decided to break out the rattan chargers that I'd gotten years ago while dreaming of entertaining and how nice they would look with my blue plates and colorful food. Alas, most of my family members moved away, the cool one's family doesn't live in convenient driving range, and we have no friends. (Okay, we have a few, but none live nearby.) Pathetic. So we don't entertain. So the chargers have been in their boxes, sealed until this moment.

Isn't that a unique finish on my dining table? I nearly sold the set this summer, while I was on a simplify-my-house rampage. I'm glad I didn't though. I'm not ready to part with it. It is spawned from an attempted tortoise shell faux finish, and it's quite stunning. My sister, who had much to do with its final appearance, affectionally calls the finish malignant barnacle. She, I, a niece, and a nephew wrought this masterpiece several summers ago. Same nephew has since destroyed one of the chairs, leaning back, leaning back, leaning back, Crack! Irreparable damage.

My neighoborhood consists of a handful of houses on a culdesac adjacent to a busy street. On the corner lives a registered sex offender, level 2. Yesterday I saw him. He's a very good looking young man. A charmer. He looks harmless. He looks friendly. He might well be. He might not be. Children were riding bikes in the culdesac. He was sitting on the edge of his retaining wall, watching them. It creeped me out. I hope, I hope, I pray, that all the parents in our neighborhood have had a talk with their children about him. Stranger Danger. That's what one of the mothers in my daycare has taught her child. She uses the phrase and her child instantly attaches close to her mother's side. We will move before my child can play in the culdesac. And I will teach him Stranger Danger.

In another house lives an Indian family. They are very nice. Hello, hello, we exchange friendly hellos. They have nice cars. The old man, the grandfather I presume, told me he works at McDonald's, not because he needs the job, but to improve his English and get him out of the house. It's an interesting picture - old Indian man with a turban driving a new Lexus SUV to work at McDonald's for minimum wage. I recently learned that the family owns a couple or a few of the local Indian restaurants. I was also recently lamenting to the cool one that we never get to have Indian food. Would you like some cheese with that whine, he says. He only wants to have Mexican food or American food if we go out. I miss Indian food! Some things I miss about being single... But since our neighbors own these restaurants, maybe we can go. It would be very neighborly of us, after all.

Next door is a Chinese family. Grandma speaks no English. Papa sometimes mows our front lawn. Once the cool one mowed his front lawn - our lawns are so small, it's no trouble at all. Since then, the neighbor gets to his lawn more often than we get to ours, so he has mown (is that even a word?) our lawn a couple of times. I baked some banana walnut bread - from scratch! - and wrapped it up nicely with foil and ribbons, and presented it to them with a thank you card. They don't like nuts, it turns out. Or banana bread. But it turned out delish! I made a double batch, which is how I know it turned out well. Yogurt is the trick. They appreciated the gesture, though.

L had a yard sale the other day. I took Boo over and chatted for a couple of hours. I bought him a giant floppy stuffed horse and dog. Children played in the culdesac. It was a beautiful day. L knows all the kids, and they all like her. I envy this. Prolonged neighborly interaction. It was a first. I like this neighborly stuff.


Blogger Suse said...

I love all that neighbourly stuff! And I adore Indian food ... I got a taste for it years ago when I waitressed in an Indian restaurant. Fortunately B. and all the children love it too so I get my fix regularly. Come over here and we can eat it together!

7:18 PM, September 29, 2005  
Blogger SueeeuS said...

On my way!

12:14 AM, September 30, 2005  

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