Wilson got a notion in his head that we (the proverbial “we”) should plan a little gathering for the “neighborhood” and introduce our newest resident, Liz. I didn’t give it much thought until I found myself in Liz’s driveway, next to Wilson’s car, planning a get-together for New Year’s Eve. At my house. With neighbors I rarely speak to.
I lay down the law as Wilson’s guest list grew and the feeling of brotherly cheer ignited his social juices. OK. My house, 6pm to 9pm as I have my private New Years rituals to conduct before my eye’s slam shut. BYOB because attendees can walk and I have no idea as to preferences. I will provide snacks.
This somehow translated to Wilson’s growing need to feed the neighborhood. He arrived with four avocados, Bloody Mary Mix, Orange Juice, Vodka and pre-cooked shrimp. “I didn’t want to put any more work on you but I think we are going to need more snacks!” he proclaimed as he shoved the grocery bags through the door. I went through his ingredients, “Wait a minute, no one is staying for breakfast so why the OJ?”
I suggested he whip up a batch of his not-yet-famous guacamole while I threw together some leftovers for dinner. After about an hour of prep, we had a generous bowl of piquant guacamole and enough dinner scraps to sit down and eat. “I’d better check Slinky first.” Wilson said.
“She’s been in the car this whole time! Bring her in she must be frozen!” In truth, her teeth were chattering a bit but she has such a thin, southern lady’s coat. Slinky and Alice are the epitome of middle-aged gals who’ve seen it all. Of questionable backgrounds, they never lost their belief that life is good and there is no reason to question it. They love to see each other, spending the first three minutes in happy play bows and dance. Then they are done and pretty much ignore each other. Neither grew up with toys, treats or much attention so all the above are wondrous but never expected.
Back to Wilson and his party planning. He isn’t one to make lists but I live by them. I noted who he had invited, then added side notes to indicate who among them was not on good terms with each other for various past conflicts. Wilson has lived here the longest, 30 years so he has a witnessed lots of comings and goings as the neighborhood evolved. Just to be clear, there are only eight houses that could technically be called “neighbors.” We all back up to the ledges and face the low swampy forest across the road.
In the end, the most fractious didn’t attend and those who did seemed to enjoy the fire, the food and the games. Wilson declared the event a huge success and vowed to continue the tradition next year. Perhaps by then his cabin will be finished and he can host it, though I doubt it…