Love (and laugh with) thy neighbor

Talking animals Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby

We have some really nice neighbors here in Atlanta. Some were here before we moved to this house 14 years ago while others arrived in the past 6 months. This weekend we got to celebrate with many of them: a birthday, a delayed Christmas dinner, and an early goodbye.

On one side of us is Jill who stopped me at the mailbox one day last week to say that she wanted to talk with us one evening after work. I alerted Bill to get the Bailey’s® Irish Creme and over a glass or two of her favorite drink we heard that Jill was going to be busy helping her daughter with a new baby and she might not see us later to say a proper goodbye. She has a cousin who lives in Bordeaux, only 3 hours by train from Carcassonne, so I think we just might see her in France.

That reminds me, we got more than one Christmas card from friends and family around the country who said that although they never managed to make it to Atlanta they felt sure that they’d be able to cross the Atlantic to see us!

Across the street is Geri, a new addition to the neighborhood, who was celebrating her birthday Saturday night. Although only recently arrived, this California transplant was certainly not lacking in family and new friends attending her party. It’s possible that attendance was boosted by that giant jug of “Geri’s Juice” of which we were warned to have only a small portion and to keep the glass away from any open flames.


On the other side of us live Bobbi and Randy who invited us to join them and their visiting adult sons for a belated Christmas dinner. The variety of delicious foods was amazing and we both did our best to fill the massive dinner plates. That led to a discussion about the difference between meals in the US and in France and especially about portion sizes and the amount of time spent enjoying the food. Randy explained that he and Bobbi had gone to Walt Disney World® for their honeymoon and for their “splurge” evening went to a high-end French restaurant. Unfamiliar with the relaxed pace of a continental dining experience, Randy become more and more irritated as each moderate-sized course was slowly revealed, each separated by a tiny tasting of sorbet. Although apparently never voiced to the waiter, Randy did say that screaming inside his head was “HEY, I’M ON MY HONEYMOON! HURRY UP AND GET ME OUT OF HERE!” We’re still laughing about that today.

Since we haven’t finished separating what’s going to France, what’s staying with the house, and what we should give away, the neighbors are still benefiting (I hope that they use the same word) from the surplus. Bobbi is a collector of all-things Santa Claus and in the photo you can see the Teddy Ruxpin talking bear that will soon be part of her menagerie. He’s going to a great home!

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