Good Fences

I live in a house inside a neighborhood. It is part of a community.

Our 8 year-old neighbor girl invited us to a potluck dinner at her elementary school last night. Because I am no longer a curmudgeon, but one half of a hilarious and charming couple, I attended. We ate chili and talked to my neighbor, whom I have spoken to almost not at all in three years. The event was held in honor of the school chorus, and hosted by the indefatigable Music teacher, Mrs. Singleton.

Mrs. Singleton appeared to be in her mid to early teens. Her husband, Mr. Singleton, was the star of the evening when he played a few holiday numbers on the saxophone for the assembled, bedraggled parents + two neighbors. I told Melissa, who doesn’t have a blog name yet, that I felt bad for only bringing a veggie tray and oatmeal cookies since I was slamming down chili, ham, and mac-n-cheese. She said, “Did you notice how many people didn’t bring anything?”

You know, I didn’t notice, but she was right. Lots of people looked like they had just come winging in from bad jobs after picking up the smaller kids. For some of the families there, this Choir Potluck was a bonanza. I forget that these are really hard times, like no joke difficult times. There were tables of food. Cupcakes and chicken wings, rice and some fresh greens from someone’s garden. Kool-aid and my oatmeal cookies, plenty of food really.

The little neighbor girl was shy, but she tracked me down a cup of water because homie ain’t drinking kool-aid. I think she and her mom were shocked to see us. I wanted to tell them, “If you haven’t noticed, there is a new sheriff in town.” We live in this neighborhood now, like– we do our living in it.

Mrs. Singleton, browbeating the tired parents to get their asses out the door and eat chicken wings, that’s more Christmas spirit than I have felt in a long time.

Go Hawks!


6 Responses to Good Fences

  1. That little girl is already 8? Wow. Bless you, Juancho, for ignoring the metaphorical fences. Stay tuned for an invitation to our decennial spring street picnic.

  2. Be there now Juancho. Being a ‘domestique’ to the hood may be more fulfilling than we know.

    I like this direction and slant you are on. Your words so nicely describe what many have felt. Did I say nice? Yes. Be nice.

    Nice post


  3. She needed you there, the neighbor girl. The sand castles of children such as her only have 3-4 grains in them and you were one of those grains this time.
    Good on you.
    And Meluancho is becoming.