We have neighbors.
On the one side is an elderly couple who are much better gardeners than I. They eat out only on Thursdays, after the Mrs. has her appointment at the beauty shop and on Sundays after church, both times at the Dairy Queen. They have a little dog who is yappy and whose name may or may not be Max. Either the dog or the man is named Max, but I'm at a loss to recall which. They are only seen during the spring, summer and early fall. There is no sign of their existence in the winter months. And that's all I know about that.
Oh, and they have a cat whose name is definitely Molly.
On the other side we have Tom and Sue. They are very nice, as well. They are quiet - no wild parties or raucous family gatherings. They are just nice. Very nice.
And we drive them nuts.
That's not entirely accurate. Specifically, I drive Tom nuts. He's got ideas. About stuff. I seldom greet his ideas with the reverence they are due.
We'd only lived here for about 2 hours when we pretty much had Tom figured out. He came over just as soon as we finished unloading the big furniture and said he was sorry he'd not been over sooner to help out. He commandeered Randy for a long "get to know you" discussion while Katie and I continued to haul boxes into the house. Katie and I kept walking right past them and sometimes right between them while Tom commiserated about how sorry he about not getting there sooner to help out. Finally, I hollered for help from inside the moving van claiming to have a box that was far too heavy for poor little me to lift on my own. Tom excused himself and went back home so Randy could help me.
A few months later, Randy and I were outside doing some Saturday afternoon yard work. Sue, who is a very sweet lady, came over to say hi. We were chatting neighborly while Tom continued to wash his car on the other side of their yard. He looked up, saw us, and began gesturing wildly and calling Sue's name. She looked over at him, slightly exasperated, and asked what he wanted.
"Sue! Did you forget? You haven't done your hair or put on makeup today!"
Stunned silence. Stunned.
Finally, I yelled back, "Well, hell, Tom! Randy hasn't even taken a shower yet! And he doesn't even have any hair!"
Tom grumbles a lot when I'm around.
To his credit, Tom really likes the holidays. He likes to decorate for them, anyway. Every year he adds to his wintery white-bread wonderland. More lights, more trees, more grazing reindeer. And music. This year the whole thing blinks in sync with music.
We put up a wreath. This year, there are lights on it.
Last night, I was walking home from the track, across the school parking lot. Tom was out in the front yard tweaking his trees. He looked up. I waved.
"Hey!" he said. "You wanna borrow some decorations?" He does sort of a benevolent glower so that you are sure not to miss the oh-so-subtle hints he drops.
I made a big show of removing my ear buds. "It looks great!" I said, giving him a goofy grin and a big thumbs up, pretending to totally misunderstand his meaning. "You're doing a great job!" As if he lived for my approval.
Tom grumbled and went back into the garage.
Good ol' Tom.