Photo: Decadence is a bowl of Hood golden vanilla ice cream with deep, dark, incredible local honey drizzled over top of it. I’m serious. We picked up our veggies from the CSA yesterday and they had on offer sticks of local honey. The color alone was appetizing enough but oh, my Dear Reader, the taste… the taste! Best honey I’ve ever had. Go pick up some honey from your local farmer’s market this weekend! It’s worth the money! You won’t be disappointed!
I have a new neighbor, Dear Reader. She introduced herself to me yesterday while I was waiting with Major for the school bus. And, though creepy (we’ll talk about that in a second), I’m so glad that she introduced herself to me while Major was there, because she gave me the perfect opportunity to teach Major an important lesson.
We share a driveway with my octogenarian neighbor and her jobless, middle-aged son, who sometimes runs errands in the morning. He came home while Major and I were waiting for the bus and we had to quickly move out of the way so he could go by. Major and I politely waved and went about our business waiting for the bus. That’s when a thunk of a car door came, followed by a hearty “hello! I’ve been just dying to meet you!”
A middle-aged woman came bounding down the driveway, hand extended, broad smile. “Hello! I’m [Patty]!”
“Hello, [Patty], I’m Kyra. Nice to meet you,” I answered politely. What else was there to do?
Have you ever met someone and immediately know that something is off? Something was off. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off.
“I’m just so excited to meet you! I’m your new neighbor!” Patty informed me.
Ya’ll know I can’t control my face. “Oh?” I gasped.
“Oh yes! I’m a friend of [Joe]. I just got here. I came in unannounced… there was a family emergency and I had to come here. But it’s ok now. It all worked out. Anyway, I came in on a Grey Hound, and I had no money, but God… God found a way. He gave me the $200 I needed to get here…”
“Thanks be to God,” I said.
And so it went. I know a lot about Patty because Patty told me her entire life story. I know about her and the miracle of her getting here. I know she has a son who is a cop somewhere in the state. I know that my octogenarian neighbor, the owner of the house next door, was not excited that someone showed up at her door unannounced and planned to stay for a while. “But she eventually invited me to stay. She’s such a good woman. She didn’t want me to be out on the street. So she asked me to stay!”
“And so, how long will you be visiting, [Patty]?” I asked with as much curiosity in my voice as I could muster.
“Probably until July,” she said with ease. “My son is getting a room ready for me.”
Then she turned to Major who, as children do, was half in and half out of the conversation. He was mirroring my posture, noticing my distance, my tone of voice. He sighed and kicked the ground, wondered out loud a few times about where the bus could be. I was so proud of him in that moment: he’s usually a gregarious child, but something told him to stay back, be aware.
“We’re gonna have the grandchildren over. Maybe we can all have a little playdate this summer!” Patty said to him.
“Oh…” Major said shyly. “Ok…”
Mercifully, the bus came. Major visibly relaxed as soon as it turned the corner. I kissed him and saw him off, turning from the bus only to see that Patty was still there.
“I am looking forward to stopping by some time!”
“Well, we’re a busy family, so you should probably call first,” I said rather cooly as I made haste for the false safety of my lawn. A feeling of dread grew in my gut: my little sanctuary may not be for a little bit. Encroachment is impending and it’s gonna suck.
I immediately ran to my other neighbor. My cool neighbor. My neighbor who I knew would know what to do. We chatted for a good bit of time, making plans to keep communication open, to watch carefully. We voiced our hope that this would all turn out just fine and there is nothing to worry about.
But when Major got home off the bus and I ran into my octogenarian neighbor, Mabel, and she told me the real story, well… let’s just say this might turn into a bit of a summer saga. Major patiently and politely let me get the full story from Mabel: Patty showed up out of the blue, no Mabel doesn’t want her there, Joe claims that he’s in love with Patty, Patty ain’t got no grandchildren of her own (she’s claiming Joe’s. Not a good sign.), Patty is super pushy and, most importantly and sad, Mabel’s daughter is very upset that Patty has moved in and isn’t speaking to her, which is a huge problem because Mabel feels really isolated.
I feel so bad for Mabel, and the situation is totally messed up. I’m a bit concerned not just for her but for us as well. Instead of going straight to the house, I took Major with me as I went back to my other neighbor to fill him in on the rest of the details. Major had a snack while I retold the tale. We adults questioned and wondered and made plans. When we were done, I talked Major across the lawn and he asked me a great question:
“Why did you go and tell [Mr. Bob and Ms. Dee] about [Patty]?”
And it was such a perfect opportunity to teach him this: “Have you ever been doing something or been somewhere and your tummy starts to feel weird? Like your tummy starts to tell you that something’s not right?”
“Yeah, I think…? But not really. Maybe?”
“Well, when you feel that way, you should stop what you’re doing and go find a grown-up who you trust. Well, guess what? [Mr. Bob and Ms. Dee] are those grownups for me. Patty makes my gut feel weird. My gut is telling me that something not ok. So I’m telling two adults who I trust because I know I’m going to need their help. Even grown-ups need to do that sometimes. It’s very important that you trust that feeling in your gut.”
I had to assure him that he is safe and fine. The grown-ups are taking care of things. That made him feel better. He was delighted to be released from the worry and I was grateful for his trust in me. And now, well… here comes summer… with a new neighbor. We’ll see how long this lasts. Ain’t nobody got time for this. Doesn’t the universe know I’m busy enough?
Still, if the only good thing that comes out of this is that Major learns the lesson about listening to his gut… well, I’ll take it.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday and the heat wave is broken! Yay! I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.