Muriel, our neighbor, is 93 years young. She lives by herself in small cape. She may not be hear very well, even with her hearing aids in, but she is sharp as a tack. Whenever we find ourselves visiting, she always updates us on her family in Long Island and her visiting caretaker, Dorothea. Muriel has this positive, appreciative outlook on her life – not just the life she’s led, but the life she is leading. Her outlook shines through when she ends and update with “and I’m glad for that”. A phrase I don’t hear everywhere but always from Muriel.
Friday night, I walked towards the front of the house. I gazed out the window soaking up the neighborhood Christmas lights shining brighter against the snow. Off in the distance, I saw red lights blinking. I hadn’t noticed them before. I gazed some more and then realized they were not Christmas lights but emergency lights. I grabbed my coat and boats and made my way into the darkness. My first look was towards Muriel’s house and then I turned the other way and found a fire truck in front of Torey’s house. I got as close as I could, waited for someone, anyone, to emerge. A masked fireman made his way out of the house and I yelled, “Is everyone OK?” I knew his answer would be vague, but I had to ask. “Yes. Everyone is OK.” he yelled through the darkness. Satisfied with an answer, I made my way home and texted Torey. “Friday nights are not for firetrucks and emergencies. I hope you all are OK.” Her response – “It’s my mom, she may have had a heart attack. She’s OK – at the hospital.”
Billy and I were out walking the dog the next day. As we approached Torey’s house, she was backing out of her driveway. Billy and I pulled Maci to the side and waited. She paused the reverse, put it in drive, saw us and rolled down her window…”How’s your mom?” Billy and I listened as she recounted the events that led to the 911 call and her mother’s safe arrival at the hospital. As her story came to a close, she wrapped up with those ever thankful words that I thought only belonged to Muriel “and I’m glad for that“.
I’ve always loved my neighbors, block parties and spontaneous street conversations are the norm. Every one of them brings something special to our little corner of the world and all I can say “and I’m glad for that”.