The Old People’s Neighborhood

June 21, 2017

The house we’re staying in is situated in a neighborhood full of old people. I say this with great affection, not condescension, because I’m convinced these people are the most wonderful neighbors in the world.

In my time here, I’ve observed that residents in this neighborhood are the sort who walk their dogs three to seven times daily, mostly golden retrievers, overweight bulldogs, and meticulously groomed poodles.

They often water their lawns by hand at dusk, moments after their automatic sprinkler systems have turned off. You just can’t be too sure, you know? And if you want something done right, you better do it yourself.

On national holidays, most neighbors pay for the boy scouts to anchor huge American flags in the center of their lush, green lawns. It looks like a parade of patriotism down the street, star spangled banners waving in the wind beside driveways occupied with large SUVs. It would seem that not only are these neighbors exceptional stewards of their landscaping, they also love America very, very much.


I have been waved at by many of them, as waving seems to be the neighborhood passion and talent. When I walk out to the mailbox with my mom or load a child into the car, several white-haired retirees are usually around to pursue meaningful eye contact with me, paired with a sincere smile and heartfelt wave. It is truly wonderful, as if I get a welcoming committee each time I go outside. I think Molly assumes she has acquired a dozen or so new grandparents.

Occasionally, I’ve been waved at with the sternness of a disconcerted parent. This only happens while I’m driving. Concerned citizens wave their hands up and down and mouth the words “SLOW DOWN!!”… as I drive past at a raging speed of 19mph in a 25mph zone.

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Faith, Lifestyle

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

June 14, 2017

When we lived in downtown San Diego there was constant construction. Beeping dump trucks, clanging metalwork, concrete drills, and colorful curse words delivered by cab drivers as they leaned out the driver’s side window— these were the sounds of the city.

The commercial landscape of our street continuously changed.  Restaurants would open and close. New boutiques would pop up, shut down, then be replaced by a taco shop, real estate office or, in one case, a restaurant that literally microwaved your hand-selected food in front of you.

A couple of summers ago there was one storefront with a beautiful façade that announced a restaurant coming soon. Painted in capitalized, block letters above the entrance was the quote: “A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS.”

I thought this quote was beautiful, especially since the bay was only a couple of blocks away. Idle sailboats could be seen bobbing in the water from the restaurant’s front patio.

Come to find out, that phrase was used often by John F. Kennedy as a defense for certain economic policies, suggesting that a good thing for one group of people would elevate the quality of life for everyone.

I’m not at all interested in economics, but I am interested in rising tides. Because I’ve experienced them in a different way.

I’ve been a boat lifted by the swell of community before. I’ve been buoyed by friends who have held me above water when circumstances threatened to sink me.

These are the rising tides I know: the people that have offered faith and prayers and optimism on my behalf when I could not muster my own

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