This was the last time I was going to let new people move into the neighborhood without welcoming them. I was regretful of all the occasions I had missed, newcomers now grown long in the tooth as I dilly-dallied and finally gave up on the idea of bringing cookies and a welcome. It would be embarrassing at this point.
There are events in life that, if acknowledged, imprint the heart of the receiver in ways all out of proportion to the energy exerted by the giver. I well remember that in 1990 when I returned to my present church after a five-year absence, it was Joann Stracuzzi who approached me the first day and took the time to chat. She gained a special place in my pantheon that day.
I had noticed the siding go up on this domicile six houses down from mine. I knew what I would say when I went over with the baked goods. I would voice my appreciation for their taste. Perhaps they would be Christians and we would be in fellowship right away. Perhaps they had a child who could play with my granddaughter.
After ascertaining from my worldly children that it is still acceptable in this paranoid day and age to bring sweets to strangers, I commenced to make toffee bars, a favorite in my house. I wrote a short note and taped it to the aluminum foil I had draped over the bars. I walked to the house and rang the bell. A man answered and as I was about to unload my canned speech, his wife stepped onto the threshold. It was Chris. I have many a times seen Chris walking to work, and we have exchanged hellos.
I stammered, "I never gave you a proper welcome when you came to the neighborhood." They stood there, faintly smiling. "So, how long has it been now that you're here?" I asked. "Nine years," she said. I then told them I liked their new siding and made small talk about the house across the street that was damaged in a fire last winter.
I handed them the toffee bars, being sure to rip the note off the top first. Later on the phone I told my friend David what happened, and he laughed and said I should put it in one of my columns. But I told him I couldn't imagine anything edifying to say about it.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.