Posts Tagged ‘ difficult neighbors ’

A Much-Needed National Night Out

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

kids playing in fire hose sprayPerhaps you recall my recent story about calling the police on a couple who left their young children at our local park so they could go buy drugs? Yeah, that wasn’t fun.

Then on Monday, I had a terrible run-in with one of our next-door neighbors; a run-in that I do not wish to re-live in full here. Suffice it to say that after it became apparent that there was just one item on her afternoon to-do list—screaming at me like a nut job from my own front stoop—I resorted to firmly ordering her to, “Get the hell off my property.” As if I were a curmudgeonly 80-year-old recluse. I did not shake my fist in the air while yelling, if only out of genuine fear that she would slug me.


National Night Out arrived, as if on cue, to remind me of all that is good in our neighborhood. Our first gathering was hosted by Roy’s neighborhood grandma, Jackie, and her husband John. We arrived as soon as the fire truck did. Roy’s reaction to the presence of a fire truck is what I imagine mine would be to the presence of, say, James Franco or Brad Pitt: Mute paralysis and pants wetting. (Though I may be projecting on poor Roy with that last one.)

toddler boy on fire truckAfter the firemen hooked up the hose and let the kids run through the spray, Roy loosened up a bit. Even “drove” the truck, big boy. Jackie and John made hot dogs, and everyone brought a dish to pass, so we hung out and ate (or, rather, tag-teamed eating and chasing Roy through the garden), chatting with the kind and relatively sane folk there. We end up meeting a few new people every year.

We left in time to head to another party up the block at John and Craig’s place. It was in their back yard, with a whole different group of neighbors. More chatting, more meeting, and then Roy tackled his first ice cream cone. Instinct led him to chomp away at the cone, not realizing that it’s actually a container for the ice cream, but what are summers for if not sticky vanilla-flavored limbs?

The whole evening was lovely. No calls to the police. No screaming freak-shows. Just a bunch of folks who live near one another sharing a nice summer night in the ‘hood.

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