Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


We live next door to a family of fundamentalist Christians, people who homeschool because "there's not enough religion in the schools." (And yes, that includes the religious schools.) People who don't do Halloween or Santa. People who believe in creationism and in the absolutely wrongness of homosexuality.

This should be a recipe for utter disaster, Baroy and I being the ultimate in liberal Jews who protest against any infiltration of religion into the school system, who considered naming their dog Darwin as an hommage, who have more gay people in their lives than straight ones.

It isn't a disaster. In fact, it's been wonderful.

The V's are everything you could ask for in a neighbor. When I had to take Baroy to the hospital one night a few years back, they were the people we called to take the kids. Em and N and their two boys are the best of friends, despite the occasional debate over whether or not the Bible can be taken literally or whether or not Santa really exists. D (the mom) and I have had many heart-to-hearts; when something goes badly in my life, she puts in a few words of prayer for me; when something goes wrong in hers, I offer whatever counsel I can. I send over matzoh ball soup when I make an extra-big batch; she sends along baklavah when her mom comes to town and starts baking. We can count on one another for whatever the other one needs.

We just try not to talk about politics.

Every Jewish holiday, the V's will send over a card or a gift for the kids. On Chanukah, they make up gift bags for my kids for EVERY NIGHT OF THE HOLIDAY. They make the kids feel really special. Last night, on the final night of Chanukah, they sent a whole bunch of treats for the whole family, along with a note:

"Wishing you a miracle of lights and God's everlasting blessings for you and your loves one. A special thank you always for all the 'neighborly' mercies you have given to us V's--from a cup of sugar to putting out a BBQ fire!"

I may have proffered the needed cup of sugar, and Baroy may have been the one to rush over when the grill was aflame and Papa V wasn't at home, but the blessings and mercies of having the Vs next door fall equally upon us. The V's have not only lent a hand when we needed to lift a heavy television and volunteered to watch the cats when we're away, but they've taught me, by example, about tolerance. It's a lot harder to tar an entire group with a single brush of negativity when they live next door to you and are your friends.

Merry Christmas to the V family--and to all of you out there who celebrate. Thanks for the mercies, the blessings, and the lessons learned.


free hit counter