Though I claim that I am unable to do two things at once — such as walk and breathe — in reality, I have to do many. I listen to the whine of the saws in my brain. I watch for hazards on the ground. I strive to simultaneously keep my core tense, my shoulders relaxed, and my spirits high.
The community dinner at my Park has become a weekly affair. Sometimes as few as six adults and a few kids attend; sometimes the group soars as high as 25. We bring whatever we have on hand or designate a theme. Parents cook on the electric stove in the community room. Folks who work offsite stop at the grocery store in town for pre-made salads. Wine gets uncorked. Juice gets poured. The children sit at the round table in the window. Grown-ups gather around the pushed together folding tables, like the coffee in the parish hall after Sunday service.
Last evening, I stood in the driveway talking with one of my neighbors after a small but enjoyable meal. With lots of our regulars out of town for the holiday, we hadn’t thought to have the community dinner. But a few diehards insisted, and it turned out to be one of the more intimate and enjoyable events.
My neighbor said, I’m glad we did this. I agreed. We talked about the weeks when we’re too tired to put together a dish. We grab a bag of chips and a tub of salsa. But there is always enough; often leftovers; and never a complaint from anyone who came laden with home-made casserole. Whatever we have, it is enough; and the warmth and friendliness of our neighbors blends with the food to stretch it even farther. My neighbor tells me that he worried about moving to an RV park. He knew no one, and had a difficult time forcing himself to talk to people. But everyone welcomed him. The disparate personalities combined to make a group that he could consider family.
I agreed, again; and we said goodnight. I have a lot of personal faults. I worry that I’m too loud, that I’m impatient, that my difficulty hearing makes me a bad conversationalist. I understand my neighbor’s reluctance to put himself into a group of people whose proclivities he does not know. I share his fear. I have been told that I am an acquired taste. People love me or hate me. All I can do is continue to try to be kind; correct missteps when I make them; and keep putting my best spastic foot forward. I’m learning to ignore the ambient noise, and listen for the voices of the angels.
It’s the third day of the sixty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.