This morning while I was at my desk window I saw a four year old black boy in Power Rangers outfit in the driveway and I just had to go down and say hi. I met him and his three sisters and cousin and we chatted. They were scootering and skateboarding up and down my driveway which is also the neighborhood driveway because we share a parking lot with the four other tenements. I said wow, wow, wow, watch out, as they raced down the hill turning onto the sidewalk to avoid the busy street. One girl the Latina cousin who had wavy black hair down to her waist, said she was dressed up last night as a girl from American Idol and she burst into her song and dance routine for me. I was spellbound. The other girl said she was a princess. Today she was wearing white sneakers that were printed with the word red many times in different colors. I said your white sneakers say red! She said they are red rhino sneakers named after the red rhinoceros. I love rhinoceroses I told her. She had on a shocking pink shirt and jeans and had a million black extension braids down to her shoulders.
I went back inside and made some lunch; cubed fresh tofu, bean sprouts, spinach, garlic, mixed with leftover whole wheat elbow macaroni, and soy sauce and red chilis sauteed in olive oil.
I came back outside standing in the sun at the back gate, eating with chop sticks. The kids were eating snacks out of their blue bags of Ranch Flavored Doritos and climbing my clothesline poles by stepping up on the fence. I watched worried that they would fall while Honey tried to eat their Doritos! The dimpled tall girl wanted to know how to use chop sticks and I showed her and let her try mine. It's like holding a pencil but with another stick that doesn't move. She tried it a few times.
The kids hands got covered with the old oxidized silver paint from climbing the pole so I brought out orange soap for them to wash their hands at my spigot. They were scared of the little red and black box elder bug they saw on the base of my house. I picked him up and showed them his pretty red and black bug back. I said they are sweet bugs called Box Elder bugs named after the Box Elder tree. They won't hurt you. But they wouldn't hear it! And ran screaming. I am terrified of spiders so I didn't push it.
Then later on my way out for a walk with Honey these same kids asked me to accompany them to the Moonlight Wieners around the corner. So I turned around and we all held hands and marched over to the wiener joint on Rathbun Street. Honey and I waited outside while they ordered their dogs "with everything" from the cheerful buxom brunette wiener girls in red shirts at the counter. The owner usually gives Honey a free wiener on weekdays when we walk by, but she wasn't there. Honey was so disappointed, I had to tug her home.
Then my neighbor from Haiti with huge gorgeous round flat very black face stopped his 15 year old pale blue Toyota in the middle of the road and said "Do you want some yogurt?" clutching a white plastic bag out the window. I said sure! It was a total spontaneous act of kindness on his part. He gave me a the bag filled with banana and strawberry yogurts. I squatted on the sidewalk and doled them out, exactly enough for two flavors for each of the kids. I decided it's easier to carry if they take them in the white plastic bag!
I said do you know what's happening Tuesday? We get a new president. They said I vote for Obama! I said me too! And if he wins I am going to dance in the street. They said me too! I said let's close off the parking lot and dance! So if it's a nice day I will be out in our neighborhood parking lot with sidewalk chalk drawing and dancing with my new neighbors.
Then I saw Doreen our mail woman and she said aren't you afraid to stand here? I said what, this is my neighborhood and that is my house, why should I be afraid? She said there are three pit bulls that live here. I said oh, Michael's dogs? I am probably partly responsible for Michael having three dogs because when I first moved to Woonsocket and we were squatters in the mill he would come by and ask me if he could play with our dogs. He was about nine years old! Now he is 29 and he is my neighbor!
Today out of the blue I got a call from my local bank teller Elaine asking me if I wanted to have a play date with my dog and her daughter Darlene's Weimeraner. I said sure. I have never met her daughter or their dog but I see Eileen at the Sovereign bank two blocks away and had suggested we try this someday. I always bring Honey to the bank when I go in! I walked over to her daughter's house about a mile away on Saint Cecile Street off of Diamond Hill Road and I met Eileen and her husband and their daughter a dental hygienist on maternity leave and her husband; a fireman and their two boys and their Weim named Ruger. The dogs played, the kids played, the neighbors kids played and it was 60 degrees and sunny. I even found four little old fashioned glass ice cream dishes on the way over which I just washed. Someone had put out a forest green plastic mesh laundry basket full of clear glassware. It caught my scavengers eye. Most of the basket was full of stuff I didn't want; shot glasses, champagne glasses with writing on them, and little bowl vases like the kind you find filled with flowers on tables at weddings or goldfish at amusement parks. But I spotted the four little clear glass ice cream dishes in the pile and carried them home. Maybe Tuesday we'll make ice cream if it's a nice day. I have an old fashioned hand crank ice cream machine and we can make it outside in the parking lot. I'd better go make some ice!