Monday, December 12, 2016

Old Fashion, Neighborly Kindness, Mt. Pleasant Style

The older I get, the more I cherish the acts of kindness I was fortunate enough to witness as a child. As the holidays neared, parents of friends and neighbors stopped by with cases of beer for my father, cakes, ornaments, and baked goods. They were light affairs, really, but now that I'm graying and a homeowner myself, I am recalling that these gestures are what really highlight the good in people.

I had a cinnamon crunch cake in my cabinet for a while and I thought to myself Saturday morning, "Hmmm. You should bake the cake for the elderly couple next door." They are good to me, Chitunga and Glamis. They always say hello, wave to me when I'm running or walking, and take care of their lawn non-stop. They are from Poland, and their son got them the house in their retirement to get out of New York City. The mom is a tremendous busy bee - hanging laundry outside, raking leaves, gardening, washing windows. She doesn't seem to sit still. The father, on the other hand, appears to be battling many health issues. He comes outside bundled in a lots of clothes (even when it is warm out) and sits, patiently, watching his wife work.

Their English is limited, so Chitunga and I decided we wouldn't stay long. We put Glamis on her leash and ventured next door to ring the doorbell. There wasn't one. So we knocked. The father, probably 85 years old, was watching WWE. He and his wife, curious who'd be at the door, came together. We simply wished them a Merry Christmas and thanked them for being awesome neighbors. They invited us in saying, "Tree! Tree!" and pointed to a beautiful tree they had up that was loaded with ornaments. They had huge smiles on their faces and thanked us for coming over with cake.

I came home to think about the cookie trays my mother has put together for as long as I can remember, and the gifts my students' families used to deliver to me in the classroom.

Bringing cheer another's way should be what we're about every day. Alas, that is far from the case, but for this time...I feel I did what was mentored for me. I shared love for the holidays with the people next door.

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