Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two neighborhood stalwarts you don't think of.

When we first moved to this house, I was emphatically distrustful of the neighborhood. You see, it's in my home town and it's in the "wrong" end. I knew it was a "bad neighborhood." Then I heard of someone who was afraid to have Netflix for fear they'd take them out of the mailbox, and I realized we're not that bad off.
To be honest, it's not perfect. There are more rental houses than I'd like, and they are not always occupied. I've learned, though, that there are perfectly good reasons to rent homes and not all renters do thousands of dollars of damage before the eviction is final.
Then I started meeting some people. I heard the boy across the street admonish his friends for swearing loud enough for me to hear it. Another family was quite friendly; their sons sure had enough friends in the yard on a regular basis.
We have boys who come around and offer to cut our grass or rake our leaves. In the winter, they come to shovel our snow. I don't remember much of that in my "old" neighborhood; I posit the kids were all well-compensated by their parents and didn't have to resort to their own initiative for some cash.

Then there's Bob. Bob is our mailman. He knows my kids. Maybe not their names, but then again, as often as Neema sends them letters, he probably does. Get this--he holds them until he has all three and then delivers them. It's easier for him to hold them in his truck, frankly; it spares me of hearing, "When is mine going to get here?"
Another neighbor has derided him as a gossip; she doesn't like her mail arriving as late in the afternoon as it does because he's jawing with someone on the route. I don't care. He knows who belongs where and could bring my children home if they were out wandering without permission. When you think about all the things your mailman knows about you from the return addresses, you want to get along with him. Add to that the fact that he knows that same stuff about your neighbors, and how often he's walking around your neighborhood... he's a fixture you don't notice. He told me he's called the cops on guys he knew didn't belong.
I want a mailman who's a gossip.

Another person you don't think of as "neighborhood" is, strangely enough, the ice cream man. Ours is Mr. Z. You don't think about it, but he has his set route and again, he knows who goes with whom and where they belong. I've seen this guy sell $1 worth of ice cream for $.75, because that way the two kids could each have their own. He carries dog biscuits in his truck and he's a regular in the late afternoon, almost evening. You know, just before dinner? My kids are trained to put theirs right in the freezer and they don't have long to wait. It's wonderful. He waves to my kids on days we don't buy, besides.
Earlier this week, we were out for a walk when he was coming around. Another neighbor and I were chatting, her from her van and me from the sidewalk. A man we'd never met before was in front of a house with his (I later learned) niece. This unfamiliar man offered to buy ice cream for all of the kids, a total of five.
Since he was buying from the trusted Mr. Z, I was okay with this, but I did later go over and introduce myself. I filed it away as Something to Tell Daddy.
Today, when Mr. Z came around, the kids had money from Neema so we saw him again.
"Do you know that guy from Tuesday?" he asked.
"Never saw him before in my life. That was a little...." I made a squinty look. "Wasn't it?"
"Yeah, it was funny. He's only been there about a week and a half."
I know Mr. Z doesn't have kids of his own and he works at the local schools--a substitute teacher and coach. It was reassuring for me to know I wasn't the one that was off by a stranger buying my kids ice cream.

This has turned into a longer post than I thought it would. I just am grateful to be back to normal, with everyone home and breathing... and eating ice cream.

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At 8:18 PM, Blogger Melanie B said...

"there are perfectly good reasons to rent homes and not all renters do thousands of dollars of damage before the eviction is final."

Yeah, we rent and so far have not trashed the place. :)

But seriously, I like what you say about gossipy mailmen and ice-cream truck drivers.

We don't get the ice cream truck so much here, living across the street from an ice cream shop. But on the other hand the shop owner knows us and lives in the neighborhood and is a good neighbor.

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Heather said...

I didn't realize you rented, even when you moved.
You and Milehimama are two that I can recall who have changed my opinion of folks who rent. :)


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