After we closed on our house but before we had left California, Tommy had the brilliant idea to call our one and only neighbor, ostensibly to introduce ourselves, but really because we were scared that the reason our house had been on the market for so long was that it shared a fence with some kind of psycho, like an axe murderer or an amateur metal-band guitarist. Much to our relief, the littler white house is owned by a single, retired army officer who does genealogy reports for families and is the music director at his church. He told us that the storm door on our house was broken and that there were a lot of walnut trees. Whew! Another bullet dodged! And we would have been perfectly content had it ended there, but it didn’t.
Flash forward to Mike-Tyson-punches-you-while-you’re-in-labor-and-have-food-poisoning. Here comes Gordon, his elastic-waist, polyester shorts neatly pressed, white beard trimmed just so, his arms filled with love and kindness. The minute he got off the phone that day with Tommy, you see, he started collecting things for us- event calendars, family activities lists, local newspapers, coupons to nearby restaurants. In another basket was a coffee mug filled with Hershey’s kisses and mints and a wooden pen that he had carved by hand after he found out that Tommy was a woodworker. And rolled up neatly with all the other goodies was this amazing list that he had put together just for us, filled with all his trusted service-people and friends, in case we needed anything when we arrived.