Was it a natural evolution in style that coincidentally arrived with the new neighbors, or something more sinister? After years of artistic drought, she had no choice but to embrace her compulsion to draw large-scale nudes from the rear.
Dean had taken a walk while Seamus was at mass, trying to find good coffee, pastries, and groceries. They all proved fairly easy to find, though, and he was relieved to discover that he really liked about nine different kinds of French pastry that he didn’t know existed.
When Seamus got out of the church, Dean was sitting on a bench nearby with a box full of Beignet.
“Hey, do you come here often?” He smirked, patting the bench next to him. “Because I am looking for an Irish bloke to come and eat half of these ridiculous pastries and you seem to fit that description.”
He grinned. “I am also hoping that said Irish bloke likes coffee with cinnamon because I have one here and I can’t drink that shit.”
We are fortunate to live in a four unit townhouse complex in a small mountain paradise town in Northern California. Since the complex is small, we actually have met our neighbors and actually get to interact with them on a fairly regular basis. One of the units in our complex has been vacant for period of time (not extended–but more than a month.) Anyway, the unit recently rented and we have begun to see signs of life and some activity around the unit. The Landlady doing a few extras to prep it, a name appearing on the mailbox, that sort of thing.
Today I was fortunate enough to meet the new neighbor and chat with him for a few minutes. He came in and took a brief look around our townhouse to see how we had arranged the furniture and such, just to get some ideas for when he makes the move this weekend. After our chat he started back down the walk and I extended the typical, if there’s anything you need…and I love to cook so we’ll have to get together sometime….offers. He smiled and expressed his thanks and interest in doing so.
What I didn’t tell him was that I had another plan in mind, but wanted to confirm plans with the significant other to make sure I wasn’t double booking myself. Come to find out, our Saturday is clear, so operation Welcome Wagon was clear for takeoff.
The plan: Provide lunch for the new neighbor and anyone helping him move in on Saturday.
Leave a note on the neighbors door for him to find the next time he comes to the unit offering to fix lunch and asking for information on the number of people he anticipates will be helping and if there are any dietary restrictions or preferences such as vegetarian, allergic to peanuts, low sodium requirements, etc.
Plan a simple meal that will require no preparation or heating on his part.
Prepare the meal and deliver it around noon on Saturday along with disposable utensils and containers so that no dishes are required.
Until I hear back from my neighbor I won’t be able to finalize the food plan, but here are some initial thoughts:
A platter of sandwiches made following my Super Sub Sandwich model (See the Pages section to the right for the recipe.)
Small relish tray with some fresh vegetables and pickles.
A small Apple Dump Cake (See the Pages section to the right for the recipe.)
My backup plan if he prefers a vegetarian meal:
A pot of homemade vegetable soup delivered in our crock pot
Some nice bread (If I have time to bake it myself I will, but will likely have to rely on one of our local bakeries.)
A small Apple Dump Cake
I would like to challenge each of you to consider, the next time you see a “sold” sign go up on a vacant house; notice a new face in your apartment complex; or see a moving van in your neighborhood, consider launching your own operation Welcome Wagon. Extend a hand and introduce yourself. You don’t have to provide a full meal, but how about batch of your favorite cookies or a pan of brownies. Drop off a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Regardless of what gesture you chose, your new neighbors will be pleased to meet you and will have even more excitement about moving into your neighborhood. With great neighbors like you in the area, they know they are going to be happy there.
If you have other ideas about a way to welcome new people into your neighborhood, please share them. We would love to hear from you.
Best wishes for love, laughter and findng the elegance in all common things.