Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

I sometimes complain to Bryan that our neighborhood is white, rude, elitist, and boring. And then today at Starbucks I sat next to a homeless couple who’d ridden there on bicycles. They were reading the newspaper, and the woman was concerned about the situation in Darfur. Her name was Heather. I wish I knew this because I’d talked to her. I saw her name on her Starbucks cup.

At the table beside me was a man and his two grandchildren. They were the nicest kids. The girl was really interested in Louie. But Louie is initially afraid of everyone. So the girl crouched down and approached him real slowly, so carefully. She quickly earned his trust.

Later, the grandfather told me he’s taking care of the kids because his daughter isn’t well mentally. The children and their mother have been “camping” for the last several months. The grandfather is now working with his ex-son-in-law to transfer custody of the children from his daughter to his son-in-law. Tomorrow’s the court date. The grandfather said he’d asked the kids what they’d like for Christmas, and the boy said a home. The girl wants to go to school.

People are so generous with the things they'll tell you.

2 comments:

Mom said...

And you're very generous with your time --listening to what the grandfather told you was a way of getting it off his chest; you provided a real service. It's got to be extremely stressful for the grandfather and I hope the court hearing went well. The kids are lucky to have him in their lives and I hope they get their wishes.

Michelle Panik said...

The grandfather was so optimistic that things would improve for his grandkids. The kids seemed to believe him. It probably didn't hurt that he looked a little like Santa Claus.