Tag Archives: neighbors

Gone but not forgotten

“He had two pairs of sneakers and steel-toed boots.” my neighbor’s frail widow explained.  

My sympathy casserole and I stood while the spider-webbed sneakers sat on the stoop. 

“Had them as long as I can remember. He never wanted for nothin new’.” Smiling slightly she added, “Said all he needed was already here.”

My quiet plow guy’s vintage tractor and duct-taped sneakers now made sense. I quietly judged him the way he disapproved my unshoveled property. He wore the boots when he fixed cars behind their renovated chapel.

She sighed, “They’re his Sunday best. I cannot bear to throw them away.”

Friday Fictioneers 100 word challenge and photo prompt.


An August night in the seventies with no breeze or air conditioning. The thermometer still reads 88 just before sundown. A heat wave is not a great time to watch a movie outside. Too hot and heavy. It weighs on you.

There’s a lot of nothing going on in this section of the nearest city and this drive-in is like an active junk yard. Living room afghans have thrown up over the asphalt and a crowd of little kids are lucky enough to prevent injury one broken down swing set.

A camera finally reveals itself from the little cement house in the rear of the parking lot. Cartoon advertisements start to play on the  mammoth screen behind an old warehouse. Dusk and the stifling haze make it hard to make-out the images. Night falls as the dancing popcorn and candy-shaped characters struggle for my attention.

Instead, I focus on the couple making out in the pick-up truck in front of us. The projector has back lit their every movement. Only one movie is playing but this scene makes it a double-feature. I am not sure what else they are doing but I decide it’s unfair that there is only two of them and 14 of us in one vehicle.

It’s 1979 but we arrived in a Ford Country Squire station wagon from the sixties. Our driver is my former babysitter that packed her sisters, me, and half the neighborhood into this vehicle for the bargain price of $4 a carload. I don’t know how there was any room left for their two garbage bags full of homemade popcorn.

This escapade was a celebration. That’s what I was told anyway. An event to mark entry  into my teen years. I was naive but I knew it wasn’t  necessarily for me, or about me. I was just an observer watching everyone else’s craziness.

In that way, the outdoor movie theatre was a relevant inauguration to my teenage years. I developed no passion for either of them.  Nor was I was ever really present in the footage of my life.  Both my teens and the drive-ins were dark pits.

In fact, my father’s tag name for the drive-ins was “The Passion Pit” and he never took the family there.  I agreed with his terminology on that hot August night I turned 13. Nothing will ever change my opinion. It wasn’t on the reel but I saw that girls expression when she climbed out of the pick-up truck.  It was real. It was too much weight for a young hot me to bear.

A Prayer for World Peace

Holy Family and Spirit that guides us:

Bring us together and help us do God’s will.

Provide us with your graces, so that we may love and support every fellow man.

Help us to build up one another and our communities.

Provide us the wisdom to accept our differences and make them our strength.

Grant us this peace, so that we may all live in His joy.

Together as believers, we can do wondrous things.

A Lesson in Love

This is my commandment,

that you love one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12

Bear one another’s burdens,

and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Let each of you look not only to his own interests,

but  to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:4

We should help others do what is right

and build them up in the Lord.

Romans 15:2-3

1Timothy 2:1

Mark 12:31

Almost taken out

I literally had my life in my hands. Both hands were on the steering wheel but luckily had enough instinct to save me. I pulled into the local Asian restaurant and quickly paused at the entrance to decide if I should go straight and park in the back or turn left and park in front of the door.

My hands held tight to the wheel and decided not to turn.  The driver of a parked vehicle looked left but not toward the entrance and backed toward me. He had no idea I was there.


I stopped altogether and decided to stay there until the driver realized he almost took me out along with his crab rangoon. I thought about what expression, or gesture, to give him once he attempted to exit alongside me.

He realigned his wheels, changed gears and looked up.

He moved toward my bitchy face just as I recognized his face.

I was suddenly in a much worse position than him. One of, if not THE, nicest guys in town. Genuine and sweet not just to me but our girls. Welcoming and interested not just in my husband but our entire family.

He recognized me right away and acknowledged my vehicle in a way only he could. He flashed his infectious smile and yelled out, “Hello darlin’!”

The stress of the day rolled off as I rolled my window further down to appropriately respond, “Hi sweetie!” I moved forward to now get out of his way.

“I’m so sorry. You know I love you.”  I heard him yelling an apology as his vehicle moved toward the exit.

I drove to the rear of the lot screaming,”I love you too!”

It was a scream – literally and figuratively. We had the instincts to save each other from embarrassment before we died of it.  I’ll always remember Kevin trying to take me out the day I went to get take out.

Sex in the window

My husband and I typically spend weeks on end at a cheap motel this time of year.   I wasn’t looking forward to it but the ambiance has become a tradition.   Our neighbors just didn’t make it happen for us.  Each holiday season they initiate it.  They plant one dozen huge bright red candy canes in their lawn.  We live across the street and it sets a red glow in our front bedroom.  From our perspective, the effect is not sweet and tempting or Rudolph and holiday.  It’s lurid and hokey and  ‘been there done that’.  The cheap neon makes our cozy wood-burning home seem risque.  While we have taken advantage of it on a few occasions, it’s really just obnoxious for two months at a time.  So far this winter, we’re only missing out on one tradition.

A Defining Moment

A sauna is a special heated room used to get hot and sweat.  It is a health treatment in which people sit or lie down.

It is not an array of yard sale goods in your driveway in which people perspire and melt in order to get a good deal or something for free.  It is a health risk in which people pass out.

I never thought I’d see the day but yes, it was too damn hot and humid here in New England for even the best yard sale with the nicest people.

If only they’d looked up yard sale in  the dictionary.  They would have seen my picture and known that it’s all about me.