Monday, September 07, 2015

The Treasure of Neighbors

My close circle of neighbors celebrated Labor Day today with the traditional potluck cookout. Turned out to be a farewell party for my grill, which the gentlemen—who did the grilling—declared was on its last legs. I told Jay I wanted my hamburger rare, and he said he didn’t think they could do it any other way. Failing or not, the grill—and the men gathered around it—produced some mighty tasty burgers. We had cole slaw, ranch beans, potato salad, all the fixings for burgers, and rich brownies for dessert. A fitting end to summer.

But more important we were all gathered together. I love these people and feel so supported and loved by them. We are a motley crew, ranging in age from nine-year-old Jacob—who goes off and does his own thing—to David Halbower who is in his nineties. Although not neighbors, my daughter, son-in-law and Jacob are always included in the group, as is a former neighbor and her partner—new since the days she lived next door to me. The group includes Jay, who calls himself my other son because neither of my sons live here and he’s the one I call on often to do boy chores; Greg, who keeps my yard and lawn respectable and has a fine sense about plants—to Greg, you never pull a plant out as long as its green; if it’s a weed, it becomes compost. His wife, Jaimie, a wonderful cook, complains that he thinks everything becomes compost. Christian is always ready to do small chores, and I realize I can no longer do big groups without Jordan’s help.  She’s the most efficient hostess I know—but, hey, look where she learned. Subie and Phil are longtime friends returned to FW after a 20-year absence, and I am so glad to have them back and in the neighborhood. Sophie is glad when they visit, because they bring two labs—Phil’s relatively new seeing-eye dog and the one who retired last winter. Santiago is too old to play but wants constant tummy rubs; Porter will run and play with Sophie, and she ends up exhausted. Sue calls me her Fort Worth mom since her mom lives in Ottawa, Canada, and I have fallen in love with Teddy, her love. These people help me keep my house running and my spirits up, all with a lighthearted banter and teasing—and sometimes more household advice than I need.
When they’re all together, I can’t hear any conversation, and I sort of sit back and smile at them, like a benevolent old lady—good gravy! Is that what I’ve become?

I realized again tonight the benefits of potluck—I only had to make potato salad, put out plastic plates and flatware and glasses—yes, we recycle. Everyone takes their own dishes home. Easy peasy, especially with Jordan keeping up with the kitchen as she goes. Kudos to Jay for seasoning the hamburgers and to Christian for cooking them. A lovely evening.

And thanks to all these wonderful people for keeping me in their midst. I’m in awe of my blessings.

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