August 10, 2004

Other Neighbors

This is about the house next door to where we used to live before we moved to where we live now. And one family who lived there while we occupied the house next door. Families moved out and in and out and in during the five year span we lived next door. A total of three families. Each one a bit different from the last.

The house next door was owned by someone who lived right down the street. I never met them. They had an agreement of some kind with the British Embassy and the first two families who lived there while we lived there were British families who were in America for a tour of duty at the Embassy. The British family who was supposed to move in after the second family left decided they'd rather live in Reston. Farewell to a sweet deal for the owner of that house.

My favorite folks who lived in that house were Jan and Grant, one of the British families. The middle one. They were there for three years while we were next door. We initially made their acquaintance the winter after they had moved in the fall prior.

There were no sidewalks in that neighborhood and between our yard and the street was a drainage ditch. Then a narrow strip of land before the pavement began. The day we met Jan and Grant, it had been snowing. Wendy's little blue truck had become mired in the mess. Well I've never really considered snow a mess, but the narrow strip between the road and the ditch was rather messy right then because while there was snow on the ground, the ground was not completely frozen. Rather it was just wet and therefore muddy and tractionless. Wendy was trying to leave for work. So we were out there pushing and trying to get the truck onto the pavement. Completely unsuccessfully. Out from their house came Grant. Toting a bag of icemelt. Followed closely by Jan.

They introduced themselves and got to work spreading their icemelt for traction. I was wedging sticks and other yard debris under the rear wheels to also add traction. We all put our backs into it and, a mud fountain later, the truck was free! Quite neighborly of them to come help.

They invited us over several times over the years. We'd have tea with them and it was almost ceremonial. Hearing them talk about their views of America and their own country was interesting although we didn't necessarily agree with their interpretation of our countrymen. They didn't have any children or pets. Jan didn't have a job outside the home and she usually seemed lonely. I don't know what they thought of us.

They took trips all over the US during their stay here. I was (am?) rather envious of that. They've seen more of our country than we have.

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