Three years ago our neighbor of nearly forty years passed away. Naturally we were concerned as to who would buy the house and move in. It took an entire year before anyone showed a real interest, and another few months before we found out it had been sold. Our street's rumor mill was abuzz. Some said the new owners were a married couple with no kids, some thought a bachelor purchased it, and some, like my hubby and I, had no clue that it had even been taken off the market.
Fast-forward to present day: In April we attended their beautiful wedding. Since then we've shared everything from gardening tips, to garbage bags, to stories of when we were first married which was forty-eight years ago this June. Just the other day I was telling Delcie about the horrific delivery of my third child. Now instead of maybe in three years, she's pretty sure they won't even think of becoming parents for another five!
On Thursday evening as I watered my flowers, the "new neighbors" sneaked up behind me and opened a conversation with, "Are you guys coming to our Labor Day picnic on Saturday?"
"No," I replied, "we weren't invited."
"Hey, we knew you'd come anyway, whether or not you were invited, so we didn't bother to extend a formal invitation"
My usual reply was "Yep, if we saw people and smelled food, we'd be there come hell or high water!"
The Saturday picnic was a blast! The attendees included parents from both sides, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, childhood pals, and college friends. Oh, my hubby and I and our dog, Shadow, too.
There was enough food to feed a large army, beverages for every taste, and a corn hole contest that went on and on and on. Ben's mom, Barbie and her partner, Josh, outplayed every opponent for hours on end. Delcie and I tried to unseat them, but we both sucked. We promised we'd practice all year long, even in the dead of winter, so we'd be the ones to dethrone them next time.
Although we haven't known Ben and Delcie for long, and have only been in the company of their families maybe four or five times, we've been made to feel like we're old friends who've been a part of each other's lives for forever. These 'two kids' as we call them are the best of this new generation. They are responsible, respectful, helpful, easy-going and have a quirky sense of humor. How we got to be so lucky to have been blessed with such wonderful neighbors, I really can't say, but, believe me, I'm not complaining.
As the evening went on, Ben started up the fire pit and I hurriedly retrieved the giant marshmallows and sticks I'd purchased months ago but never had the chance to use. The young as well as the more mature squealed with delight as they proceeded to burn the hell out of those white fluffy things! Most of them said they liked eating marshmallows when they were charcoaled, but I suspect they were just trying to make themselves feel better about their obvious inadequacies. My marshmallow was a beautiful golden brown with a lava-like inside that was to die for!
Next I pulled out all the stops, my mountain pie makers. Using pie crust instead of bread, and both apple and cherry filling, I baked up the best pastries in the land. As I passed around pieces of my delectable dessert, the youngins said they preferred pizza filling. What do they know anyhow! The folks with the more sophisticated palates couldn't get enough mountain pies and begged for blueberry and peach the next time around.
As the picnic began to wind down, those of us still sitting around the campfire talked and laughed about the simple things in life. Just before hubby and I decided it was time to go, Delcie came up to me and told me that she had a life goal. She asked if I wanted to know what it was. Of course I did, I'm a nosy old broad who is always ready to hear something nobody else has heard before.
"When I get to be your age," she said, "I want to be you."
For a second I couldn't respond with a comeback because I was speechless. No one had ever told me they wanted to be me. My new neighbor touched my heart with her warm sincerity. Maybe it was her choice of beverage that had something to do with her newly-found life goal, but I'll take her compliment nonetheless. I love you, too, Delcie.
As neighbors go, we've hit the jackpot! Winning the lottery, if you will! It's like we've known each other a lifetime, and perhaps in another past lifetime, we have!