A few years ago, after decades in rural Rockford, I finally got a home right in town. The neighborhood could be out of a book titled something like “The American Dream.” It’s a quiet little street without much traffic, shaded by big old trees and close to downtown.
It didn’t take me long to realize I’d hit the jackpot with my new next-door neighbors. I’m sandwiched between two friendly and helpful families with long histories in their own houses. Both families are active in church and community. Also, good cooks live on both sides of me.
Ken and Nancy Platt have raised three kids during their 18 years on our street. High-school-age Myles is still here. He mows my grass.
Any day now I expect Norman Rockwell will materialize to paint our picture.
On my other side is Mona Root. Mona and her husband Herman moved in 63 years ago. They raised their two children, Chad and Diane, in that house. Herm passed away four years ago and Chad, a semi-retired boat broker, now lives with his mom in what was his childhood home.
Mona and I have the newspaper business in common. As a young thing, she peddled papers for the Grand Rapids Press. She’s smarter than I am, though. If you met us side-by-side you’d realize it right away, but she also has credentials, having been named Best All-Round Student at Sand Lake High School in her senior year.
Mona will be 90 on September 26, still active, friendly and interested in the world. She will receive family and friends at her birthday party at Rockford Methodist Church from 1:00 to 4:00 on Saturday, Sept. 24. Nancy and Ken’s first grandbaby is due on September 25 and there’s some hope that the birth will hold off one day. Mona will gladly share.
“Lucked out” is what I did. I’m the new kid on the block and can only hope to live up to the standards set by my neighbors.
The first time, #1
A grandma was surprised by her seven-year-old grandson one morning. He brought her fresh coffee that he’d made himself. She was a good grandma and, without even a grimace, she drank what was probably the worst cup of coffee in her life. When she finished, she found three of those little green army men at the bottom.
“Honey,” she said, “what are the army men doing in my coffee?”
“You know, Grandma,” said the boy. “On TV they say, ‘The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup!’”
The first time, #2
Arriving home from his first Little League game, Alex swung open the front door, obviously excited. His dad hadn’t been able to attend the game and immediately wanted to know the details.
“So, how did you do, Son?”
“You’ll never believe it!” Alex said. “I was responsible for the winning run!”
“Really? How’d you do that?”
“I dropped the ball.”