My former neighbor Clover called this morning. She lived behind me when the children were little and was the kind of neighbor who showed up unexpectedly on the worst-ever days. With some kind of grandmotherly radar, she always came knocking with homemade soup or a game for the children to play or a bright happy smile and a shoulder to cry on. A woman who endured more tragedy, loss and heartbreak than I can possibly fathom and no one would ever guess. She never asked for anything, not a thing, just loved the serendipity of a little company. She broke her leg badly one year walking the dog alone in an icy alley. Another neighbor and I jumped at our chance, looked after her, and even dressed up like washer-women and cleaned her house top to bottom. The children read her stories and we made her soup...from the recipe she originally gave us.
Now she lives in Wisconsin and I have not seen her in 15 years. But we are in touch and she still calls- 87 years old- spunky, upbeat, eager to tell me some news. She shared my book with a friend, she loves her neighborhood: "old lady heaven," she revisits our days gone by. She tells me about the 30-something neighbor who rang her bell last Sunday and asked her out into her own backyard. There he revealed the garden he had planted in the dark the night before....to please her, to let her know he liked living next door. Thank you, Mr. Neighbor, for looking after dear Clover.
And then I had an email from my sweet Andy, who doesn't get my infatuation with this kind of thing, but sent it anyway, just knowing how much I would love it. Of course, I watched it, sobbed at the keyboard here until Mo came looking to see what in the world was going on. If you have a minute, go see- bring your tissues. xoC