Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Neighborhood Connections

The one in back may be a vampire and the ones in front of him spent all this week dancing in the driveway. We live in a block of six houses; two rows of three each. It’s a little microcosm of the world.

The guy kitty corner to our house is never seen but comes out at night. Joe lives behind us. A single Hispanic with broad shoulders and multiple tattoos, he just lost his job when the hotel he’s maintained for years was bought out by a larger company. Behind him live a family of three.

Helen the mom in the family of three has had cancer before. They just found more. She is undergoing chemo currently and has lost all her hair. They both work at the Marine base along with the woman that lives in the other house facing the street.

Tia works on the base as well. A nasty divorce forced her to find shelter in our neighborhood. Following the death of her mother, her father moved in with her. She is looked after by her grown-up children. Last year her boy was driving a friend to the emergency room at high speed and got into a traffic accident. He died on impact.

Two sisters live across the driveway from Joe. They enjoy family and tradition. They throw parties that go all night. They seem to enjoy the celebration of life. Most days this week there’s been a group of teenage boys and girls practicing to dance amidst the houses. It looks as though they are ballroom dancing and square dancing; formal dancing with partners. We believe they are preparing for a quinceanera.

Life is that mixture of dance and death, labor and loss, family and friends. Neighborhood connections keep us holding on in the midst of the struggles. It is community that holds us together when life threatens to tear us apart.

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