Thursday, May 03, 2012


The house to the east of me is rental property. We have common driveways, and their kitchen, dining and living rooms look out at me; my office, where I spend most of my time, looks out at them. So I get to know whoever lives there pretty well. When I first moved here, the owners lived in the house with small children (now grown), who used to get out in the driveway at 7 a.m. on Saturdays and scream, "Daddy! Daddy!" They moved to a larger house and there was a newly married couple in their maybe mid-thirties--nice enough people (except for one smashing driveway argument)--but they had a half wolf/half dog that howled. His name was Grant, and my kids, then grown, thought it was "Grand Goddman it!" because if he howled in the early morning, I'd come straight up in bed shouting that. (Excuse my profanity). Then came a series of college kids--some boys who were pleasant and not noisy, some boys I barely knew who had parties so loud I once called the police explaining I didn't want them to get in trouble, I just wanted them to be quiet (found out other neighbors had called too, which made me feel better). There was one weird couple--he had a homemade-looking van conversion from which he sold golf balls (one friend said to me, "Yes, but what's inside the golf balls?) and his wife was so reclusive I thought maybe she had agoraphobia. I was always tempted to see if I could help, but  they were so strange I kept my distance.
Then came Sue, about seven years ago. Newly divorced, with two young children. I met her parents first in the driveway and took to them instantly--of course, they're Canadian! Sue and I became good friends in spite of a 30-year age difference, and we shared a lot of wine on my porch. With Jay and Susan, neighbors to the west, we had a happy little community. Sue moved maybe two years ago, but we are still close--and she is only nine minutes away. She's clocked it. She calls me her Fort Worth mom, and I am awed by what wonderful people her children have grown to be--one in high school, one in middle school now. I was distressed when she moved, and the house sat vacant for a long time. I still get a visit with her folks when they come to town,  usually twice a year.
The Latimers moved in--Meredith, Brannon, and two-year-old Abby. They've been there almost two years and have become almost family--Meredith and Jordan visit a lot, and Meredith said the other day she's tempted to call me "Mom." Jacob adores going over there to play with Abby and the new baby, Grayson, now a year old. But now they've bought a house--probably not much more than a mile away. I'm happy for them, and I know, as Meredith predicts, we'll stay close. She says she likes Jacob and his mom and his grandmom too much to let go. But it won't be the same.
Still, I've decided I collect new friends, even extended family members, from that house--and I wait with baited breath to see who will move in next. Meredith et al probably won't be gone for another month, but then we'll see!

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