Thursday, February 09, 2006
The Neighbors:

My Latino neighbors moved out last week. We always had a pleasant relationship. They have a cute 6 year old, a plump kid whom I affectionately refer to as "Gordita" (but never to her face).

Oftentimes I would see Leo when I was in the backyard with my kids. He raised racing pigeons. I can't say I was thrilled that my next-door neighbor had a pigeon coop, but what can you do? Often he would bring a bird over the fence and let my kids hold and pet it.

In this fashion I got to know Leo, more so than his wife. She has a 9-5 job, he's a waiter with odd hours. He told me about growing up poor in the Dominican Republic, with one or two wooden toys. He told me his neighbor was a farmer who raised cows. One day the farmer told him one of the cows was pregnant, and that Leo could name the calf. In fact, the farmer said graciously, the calf will be yours! I'll just keep it and take care of it for you. This kept Leo busy for months! When was he going to get his baby cow? What will he name it? Not like kids today, he stressed. They have millions of toys that they never play with, and no imagination whatsoever.

With the cow theme in mind he "gave" a bird to my kids. He told them it was theirs, but he would keep it for them and feed it. My kids named their pigeon Fluffy. When pesach rolled around last year, I relinquished their ownership. I explained our holiday dietary restrictions, and how most bird foods are not in keeping with them. I didn't want my kids owning the bird over pesach, even for pretend. I think he was a little weirded out, but he was nice about the whole thing.

After awhile Yaakov noticed that Nora's car was never there, and neither was Gordita. "I think they're having some problems," he noted. And so it was. Leo told me they had separated. Nora moved in with her mom, and took Gordita with her. I was sad for them. Six months went by.

Leo sold the house and told me he and Nora were getting back together. He told her, "the grass always seems greener on the other side, but you never know if you'll get a guy as good as me." I don't think he meant it in a vain way, but rather in an honest way. He told me she was "treating him good," and he wants to try again. I told him that marriage is challenging. He agreed.
So that's the end of the soap opera next door.

I really hope they make it.


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