It was the end of 1998, one week before Christmas. A light snow had fallen and the streets were icy and slick. Boxes were stacked all over the house, baby stuff was strewn all about, and a tiny, slightly unkempt makeshift Christmas tree shown through the curtain-less front room window. This was the scene when my husband and I moved into our University Place home with our three month old infant in tow. We loved our new house, but we were overwhelmed and exhausted. It wasn't a smooth move here (fraught with delays, poor weather, and lack of sleep because of the baby).
On the first full night in our new home, the doorbell rang and there was a smiling, jovial woman holding a gorgeous and enormous basket of fresh fruits. "Hi! I'm Carole. I live across the street. I wanted to come over and welcome you to the neighborhood!"
I was overwhelmed with this old-fashioned and beautiful kindness. I nearly cried! I hadn't been to the grocery store and this fruit was so welcome. What was even more welcome was a kind person cutting through the stress and instilling the holiday and neighborly spirit in my worn out soul.
And it began--a lovely neighborly friendship with Carole. Over the years, we talked about our families, visited with each other, took care and watched after the other's home if we were away, shared our travel experiences, gossiped, and shared laughs. Carole brought my kids little goodies when she traveled to the Southwest and gave the kids special treats on Halloween. We knew that we could count on each other in a pinch. A real true neighborhood relationship. Now, that spirit of neighborliness will have to live on differently.
Carole's life on Earth ended on Tuesday after a long illness. We will miss Carole's smile, warmth, and caring. Thank you Carole, for teaching me how to be a good neighbor and friend.