We have the best neighbors.  Our house sits on a quiet street and I’m grateful for the scenery and serenity.  I’m a lucky girl.  I DO enjoy a little ‘hub bub’ now and then and city life can be exciting, but I appreciate the wildlife (okay, not the coyotes, TBH) and the panoramic views of open fields and nature in our little corner of the world. 

We’re close enough to urban conveniences that we’re not deprived of life’s essentials (pizza from Costco…I can’t quit you no matter how hard I try) or doses of culture thanks to the metro area just 30 minutes away, replete with museums, botanic gardens.  Ahh…botanic gardens…growing things! As I stare out the window in front of my desk, I see bare trees – still lovely in a linear and spare way – surrounded by snatches of olive-green grass. Not the new grass of spring but a blend of last year’s turf mixed with mud and muck thanks to melting snow. A stunning neutral palette.

When we moved here, we hoped our neighbors would be nice – friendly but not too much so. I mean…we came here for the quiet…not coffee klatches at the curb.  I did that duty when our daughter was young and hated it.  I was the only mom on our block who was working outside the home and every evening as I tried to be stealthy and swift to get the mail, I’d invariably get stuck talking with one or two stay-at-homers about who got the best manicure that week. 😉

Okay, I’m exaggerating. It didn’t happen every day and I’m not trying to disparage anyone – least of all stay-at-home moms. Still, it happened often enough that I developed a reputation for being standoffish and aloof. I don’t think so. I was just dog tired and disinterested in gossip – both from other moms and the biggest busybody of the neighborhood, a self-involved jerk named Jim who knew everyone’s business like the Gladys Kravitz of the block. Not sure who Gladys is? OMG. I won’t judge you but check it out…I’ll help with a link. And I’ll wait for you.

Back to our current home…and less snarky Vicki. 😉 We hit the jackpot here – and not just because we loved the house.  I wrote about that a while ago.  The house waited for us and it’s a fantastic story.  The house was perfect and the neighbors? Ready in a pinch if we need a helping hand but willing to look the other way because they have manners and value their own privacy. Which reminds me of the time I literally flew outside to pick up trash in a windstorm…while still in my robe and pajamas. 

Yes, that happened last March, while the hubs was in the hospital recuperating.  Gale force, explosive winds were forecast on trash day and I half-listened while I shuffled around, making the first cup of coffee of the morning.  Ignoring weatherman Rich and choosing instead to pat myself on the back for task completion, I put the bins out early and ignored the ‘we’re going to carried to Oz today’ forecast. Stupid, stupid, stupid me. Note to self?  Picking up errant cans, bottles and loose paper while trying to keep my robe closed IS an Olympic-worthy event.

Later that day one of our sweet neighbors ambled over to bring a kettle of homemade soup and bread for dinner.  They knew I wasn’t eating well – or much – while the hubster was ill (well, there was always Costco pizza…) and they were so good to me.  Making small talk, checking in about the hubster and the pupster, Sadie. For a second, I thought about my wild morning but figured my escapades with flying trash occurred too early in the a.m. to draw attention. 

You know what’s comingI was wrong.  Ever gracious and well-mannered, as our neighbor dropped off dinner, she lightly mentioned the free-for-all show from the morning, simply saying, “Oh, and I’m so glad you were able to round up the trash this morning.  You were really getting a workout, weren’t you?”  She saw.  All of it. Her hubs, too. 

Since then – and because of other examples of doing what my dad used to call showing my a**, I’ve become more comfortable with periodic bouts of public embarrassment.  Often the best diversion tactic is remembering no one cares…and if laughter is a by-product of a “Vicki show”, hey – good stuff!  I’m pretty skilled at laughing along.  Sometimes I’m the first to get the guffaws going.

Leaping ahead to this past month, our dear neighbor and her husband are experiencing a pile-up of their own health challenges.  Thank goodness the universe is toggling between he…and she…so they’re able to help one another with procedures, hospitalizations and endless appointments.  It’s so hard to know how to help and offers to be their chauffeur/personal Uber driver or run errands were waved off…but when I offered to cook for them – simple foods – stew, pasta, casseroles, sweet treats?  A resounding ‘yes’. 

For a few weeks we’ve been rotating empty dishes back to our house so I can fill them up with new meals.  I don’t know how to cook for two – just the hubs and myself – so this has been an easy and fulfilling task for me because I always make too much.  Most of all, I’m heartened to know my simple comfort food is lessening a burden for this dear couple. 

The other evening when I dropped off a meal, our neighbor thanked me again…and again…and again…and this time, as I walked away, she said:

I know you had a rocky relationship with your mother, but good Lord, she would be proud of you.  She raised a wonderful human.” 

It was dusk and given that I was 20 feet or so away, I doubt she saw my eyes well up, but they did.  To the brim.  Yes.  For all the misgivings and challenges, my mother had a heart for serving others.  Ever aware of how fragile her hold on reality was…she was grateful every day when others received her with love.  If you did – receive her with love and kindness – she was your friend for life.  And oh, my yes.  She WOULD feed you.  Apple? Tree? That’s me. And my mom. 💓

Hugs and love,

Vicki 😊

Photo from Pexels.com

42 thoughts on “The Sweetest Thing

  1. Thank you, Victoria, for sharing more from your heart. As I was nearing the end of your post, a deep well of emotion swelled up within me and released a few of my own treasured memories. God, there’s such power connected to them—Divine Power. God bless. 🙏🧡🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Art. I appreciate what you shared — that the piece connected with you — and stirred up some ‘good stuff’. Treasured memories are the best and I’m amazed by the everyday things that prompt a flood of gratitude. Big hugs! 🥰

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  2. Beautiful Vicki! My eyes are a bit misty now so excuse any typos. I think you landed in just the right place with just the right neighbors who truly know how to be neighbors and dear friends. You are that in return for them. What a wonderful gift.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah…thank you, Deb — so much – for reading and sharing that with me. Never do I want to prompt tears…but if they’re the good kind – 😊 – arriving because my little story found a place in your heart? That brings ME to tears. So happy that I’m getting to know you…so grateful to you for your generous and loving comment. xo! 💓

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are quite a few observations in this excellent post over and above the most important one: the importance of knowing people are there for you and vice versa. You also make some interesting observations about finding the neighbourhood that works best for you. You lived in a neighbourhood where none of the other mothers worked?! That wasn’t even true in the neighbourhood where I grew up in the 50s. I would have found that difficult as well. I wonder what that says about us. Just different interests, I guess.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes…It was a strange thing…up and down our block, house after house of stay-at-home moms…but one street over? Completely different! Needless to say, I felt like a mom/fish out of water for several years. Difficult…just as you said. Thank you so much for reading, Jane and for catching the most important bits in a Vicki ramble 😊 – finding our people and reveling in the joy of friendship and good neighbors. xo! 💓

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh, what a great post from laughter to tears. I’m amazed at how touching it is to hear our parents would be proud – and it seems to be true more or less regardless of our relationship with them. Shows what a deep and strong bond that is – and when we heal it, as you’ve done such a good job of doing and showing how, we can experience both the good and the bad, in perspective and pride!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. What a touching post, Vicki! My parents have been in the same same home for over 30 years, as have several neighbors and a big reason they stay is the neighbors. People like that help make a neighborhood street feel like home. We had a lovely neighbor, an elderly man from Italy who wonderful, and filled with unbelievable tall tales and miles-deep love for his deceased wife. Oh, and the comment about your mother being proud… 💓 isn’t that what we all hope for in life? Beautiful!!! 💓💓💓

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  6. Aww, that’s a wonderful compliment, gotta make you feel good inside. As crazy as my own Homelife might have been growing up, it still makes me proud when someone says my father would be proud of the choices I’ve made. Kudos to you! Good neighbors really do make a world of difference. The difference between a great location and a great home! I couldn’t help but laugh at your depiction of the coffee klatches at the curb. Oh my goodness, I can so relate to that. I want to help my neighbor when they need some help. I want to be friends. I don’t need to know everything going on in their lives. I certainly don’t want them discussing my wife’s choice to work or stay home with our kids or why I chose one car over another. I’ve never had time for those games. Too funny

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s not anti-social. It really isn’t. It took me a long time to come to that conclusion. You’re just not playing their game. You had your own race to run! I had neighbors like that, it was always a comparison game. I used to run with one and I finally had to stop, I was just looking to improve my health, not run an Olympic qualifier time to the next five stop signs and back! Ugh.

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  7. I’m glad we’re not alone in appreciating what matters in a neighborhood’s location: be within a 15 minute drive to the nearest Costco. Critical criterion, I agree!

    And it sounds like you have a delightful community, and fantastic neighbors who noticed you weren’t eating well and have done something about it. I’m touched. When we just moved to this neighborhood, our across the street neighbors (who were about the age of our parents/in-laws, I felt I had to add that so there’d be no raised eye brows about “our parents” :P) would sometimes bring us dinner, too, because they felt that as relatively newlywed couples we needed “help” 🙂 I miss that sense of community, I’m glad you have it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great post—from laughter to tears, as Wynne said. That about says it all, except for how blessed you are to have been guided to the perfect place. Divine providence—proof yet again that there are no “accidents”.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely story, Vicki. Colorful language, too. Do your readers know the definition of schmuck? Not the Americanized version, but it’s different Yiddish origin?

    I echo the chorus of those who think you are a peach. No Yiddish required to understand that expression!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goodness! I’ve only known the Americanized version of the “S” word…and just took a look at the Yiddish origin! 🙃 I think I’ll go make a quick edit — thanks to you! “Jerk” will do the trick. Thank you…you’re a peach! 😉

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        1. You are very welcome, I think…after I picked that clip I realized her shrieking voice was A LOT….but I think it conveyed the busy-body image for those who didn’t get to enjoy Bewitched as a kid. I loved that show…and the reruns are fun. 😎😊😎

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Sweet memories that are warming my heart. You just never know who’ll be there for you and in what ways.

    [Off topic, but you started it with your pizza from Costco… what I want to know is can you buy one with cash or do you have to have a Costco credit card? We’re members but don’t have one of their credit cards. In our store it appears that you have to use a credit card to get pizza, chicken, hot dogs. No cash allowed.]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right about that, Ally…we never know! 🥰
      And…regarding your important question…I think I’d better do a little research about ‘pizza purchasing’ with the hubster and ask if he’s ever purchased with cash…I know I’ve only used the card…but we should know this, right?!😉😉😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a truly lovely post, Victoria. So much humor and heart. Costco pizza–haha. You’re not kidding. And it’s a great price too! So great that you’re making meals for your neighbors. That would be a life saver for me too. I’m not fond of cooking. Sweet about your mom. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Betsy! Appreciate you for reading…and sharing in my love of Costco pizza! Let me know when I can make a little something for you….and I’ll run it right over. I am perpetually making too much…everything. Today it was pumpkin muffins. 🤣LOL!

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