Saturday, July 14, 2012


We didn't expect much from today, but we ended up getting a whole lot.

This weekend is Heritage Days in our newly adopted town, Mount Vernon. It's the biggest event of the year. The main street is cordoned off for several blocks, and the festival is marked with music, a carnival, various activities for children and a parade. As newcomers, we are more fixated on our house than goings on in town. Those times will come later. So, we started our day moving a carload of belongings to the house. As we were standing in our yard mulling what to do next, a next-door neighbor came by and introduced herself. And her next-door neighbor came over, too. And then a family of four, our other next-door neighbor, stopped by. Soon, we had 10 people standing around, introducing themselves and chitchatting about life in our town.

One of our neighbors loaned us their stroller, so we could stuff the ever-hefty Isaiah, instead of carrying him downtown to all the fun. Other offered to watch our children whenever we needed to work on the house. And they said come on over whenever the children want to cool off. (We have no central A/C for now. It's pretty much a requirement here; window units don't cut it.)

Later, as I was sweeping the front porch, our neighbor from across the street stopped by and invited us to a lawn party they were having.

And this is where it gets more interesting.

That party was to start at 4:30. About an hour before, Michelle had taken Isaiah home to put him down for a much-needed nap. Nathaniel stayed with me. Around 4:30 I asked Nathaniel whether he wanted to go across the street to the party (with a bouncy house, a major draw) or walk to the petting zoo. To my mild surprise, he chose the petting zoo, so away he went. He went, he saw, he petted, he played, he ran, he tired. And we walked home.

Surprisingly, Natty Lou was holding it together quite nicely. He was tired, to be sure, but he wasn't spazzy or anything, so we decided to cross the street to our neighbor's party. In less than a minute, Nathaniel was gone, deep into bouncy house rapture and making new friends. I sat down with neighbors for a nice chat. At some point, Jeff, the host, came by and asked us if we were hungry. I figured I should get some chow in my little boy's tummy, so I followed him to the porch. He offered me a tour of the house, and I accepted. As we walked upstairs, Jeff saw some friends, said hello, and told them to make their way down and our of the house. He then turned me, and nonchalantly said,

"I'm going to propose to my girlfriend this evening."

I looked at him, mouth agape. It took a few beats for it to sink in.

"Well, why are we standing here, you giving me a tour," I finally said. "Let's get out of here!"

And so he did, and we did. And, within minutes of us exiting the house, Jeff was on one knee, proposing to Sara.

You don't get that every day.

Not from friends. And certainly not from new neighbors.

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