Celebrating good neighbors in dark times

Although this weekend's news about the children being separated from their parents and held at the border haunted me I was fortunate to spend time with my neighbors Lesley, Jay and their son. Lesley and her husband Jay have an ability to connect with people that inspires me.

They know everyone in the neighborhood and have more than passing relationships with them. Lesley puts me to shame when she references one of our neighbors by name along with detailed information about them. She is friendly in a way that makes the introvert in me need a nap.

They regularly have people over to share in Jay's fantastic cooking. He could easily have his own restaurant. He once made a corn beef sandwich with cheese and sauerkraut that visits me in my dreams. He slow cooks ribs like a boss.

Lesley is an artist and loves to bake and garden. I love to bake and garden. In my dreams. In reality I can bake a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies and banana bread but I'm pretty intimidated by pies and cakes from scratch. I'm currently doing my best not to kill the flowers on our porch. I'm barely succeeding. Lesley loves to share in her joy of baking and all things green. We benefit by having our pick of what she grows.

They are two of the most helpful people I've ever met. Need a bike tire filled? Jay is on it. Need pearls for a video you are producing about Bill O'Reilly? Lesley has some. Want interesting conversation about dictators, Day of the Dead or Prince? Look no further than Lesley and Jay. This weekend I told them, "Your house is a magic house."

Their son who is 4 and my girls who are 10 and 8 are buddies. For the longest time he referred to them as, "The girls," which was about as cute as it gets. Now he calls them by their names as he leads them on their next adventure.

This past weekend Lesley indulged my girls in a baking session that was downright idyllic. I joined them as we walked to one of our neighbors to pick fresh rhubarb from their lawn (with their permission), then we picked fresh strawberries from Lesley's garden. They made a heart-stopping rhubarb, strawberry, blueberry and raspberry cake that is calling my name from the kitchen counter right now.

The cake.

The cake.


"The girls" and Lesley wearing the pearls she lent me that I finally returned.

Lesley and Jay aren't the type who show off their talents to make people feel bad or jealous. They use their talents to bring people together and spread joy. I want to celebrate them because my husband reminded me that even though we are in dark times there is still good in the world. Lesley and Jay are good examples of that truth. We're lucky to have them right next door.

What good people or things can you celebrate today? Share in the comments below.

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