Monday, May 30, 2011

Eating away at the blues

Eleven years ago when we bought our home, Dale and Zondra were the first neighbors to kindly introduce themselves and welcome us...and tell us all the good neighborhood dirt, of course.  Unfortunately, our neighborhood isn't super friendly, unlike those I totally envy that will close off the street and have block parties or where the kids all know each other.  All these years later, we only loosely know a few people right around us.  I wish it was different, but, alas, it's just the way it is.

Over these eleven years here, we've seen less and less of Dale and Zondra due to her failing health.  But, we still get those helpful phone calls now and then reminding us to move my car on street sweeping day or about coyote sightings and criminal activity, and so forth.  I've always appreciated how they looked out for us - without a doubt, the eyes and ears of the neighborhood.

Sadly, today they packed up and moved away.

You see, the years haven't been the kindest to them.  Zondra has many awful physical ailments, like diabetes, chronic breathing problems (lifetime smoker), and the worst of all - Alzheimers.  Dale recently said to me, "I've slowly lost my best friend and I simply can't abandon her".  So, with lost income from hardly working so he can take care of her, he had trouble making ends meet and paying his mortgage payments.  He had to short-sale his home of forty-six years - the home where they raised their children and spent their entire lives together.  He has lost almost everything, except for his devoted children and sharp mind.

A week ago while his wife was in the hospital, Dale and his family had a garage sale.  As soon as I noticed the sale, I walked across the street to say 'hello' and visit with the family.  As I am chit-chatting away, I look over and see this plant along the walkway.  I actually gasp in astonishment.  It's a huge blueberry bush in a whiskey barrel that is totally covered in blueberries.  I've never seen anything like it.  Positively stunning.  Amazing.  Incredible.

I express my awe over the beautiful blueberry bush to Dale's daughter.  She goes on to tell me that her mom absolutely loves that blueberry bush and what a shame it is that it won't do well where they are moving so they can't take it with them.  I didn't want to be all "I WANT IT SO BADLY CAN I HAVE PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE I WILL LOVE IT AND CHERISH IT FOREVER!!!" because, my goodness, it's such a sad situation and I don't want to be all insensitive and greedy and take advantage.  Going along with my best judgement, I don't say another word about it.

But, I really really want it.

Instead, I wander around the garage sale, picking up a few really nice cookbooks and enjoy looking at her various treasures (it's more than obvious she was very much into buying from home shopping network and crafting on a grand scale).  I look up to see the daughter coming toward me.  She says that they talked it over and would like to give me the blueberry bush because Zondra would be very happy knowing I have it and that I will take good care of it.

I can hardly contain my excitement!!  Whooo hoooo yippeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Today, the magnificent blueberry bush sits in my very own backyard next to my beloved vegetable garden.  Every day, me and the kids go out and pluck handfuls of sweet ripe blueberries and gobble them up with pure enjoyment.

When I look at that bush, I smile at the beyond valuable gift that was given to me.  I mean, how do you put a price on that?!

I'm still very sad that we are losing our favorite neighbors today, but hopefully this move will give them a fresh start near their children and the best possible care.  They certainly will never be forgotten by our family.