I thought that I’d post an update on my situation, since it’s easier to do this than actually call people. Yes, last week was a sucky week. First, an old friend of mine, who helped me lead my first singles ministry passed away. The day after I got that news, our landlord calls us up. Apparently she has decided to move back into our neighborhood, meaning our place. We had til the end of April to find a new place to live.*

You can imagine the flurry of prayers and the mad scramble that went on soon after. Well, not even 48 hours later, we had a line on a house with an owner desperate to unload it (dividing up property due to a divorce). But I’m going to miss my neighborhood. You see, our family first moved into these condos back in 1979. We were the first black family in the neighborhood. My how things have changed. We’ve always kept our condo and have never lived more than 2 miles from it. My sister lives one block from it. I live two blocks from it. My parents live a little over a mile down the road. It’s been home. What’s helped it to remain home has been the strange collection of folks that we call our neighbors.

Our immediate neighbors, another interracial couple, seems to have adopted every neighborhood kid. They hang out there day and night. Which is fine: our whole court likes to sit outside and talk to one another. The court is like one big living room. We have the candy lady, the crazy old lady whose parking spot you better not park in. We have the dog people who keep too many dogs in their house. We have the meat guy who comes by every other week selling meat from the back of his trunk. Sure, we have the occasional drug dealer, but they are quickly run out due to the force that is Big Momma.

Every neighborhood needs a Big Momma. She’s a one woman steering committee. The neighborhood watch, information center, and all around meddler. The first one over to ask “You cookin?” Since we are known to have a lot of get-togethers, if anyone looks lost, they are greeted by Big Momma, as she holds court near the entrance of her little fiefdom. “You looking for Miss Sally?” (which, mind you, is how everyone in the neighborhood addresses my wife. Miss Sally. I’ve lived in that court for 14 years and I’m still the afterthought. It goes the boys, then “Miss Sally”, then “oh, yeah. Hey.”).

She’s in everybody’s business. She once stopped me on the way to my car with “Ain’t you supposed to be at a wedding?” (Which I was, but the wedding wasn’t until 2 pm and it was only 10 am. And it wasn’t even my wedding). However, she’s the first one to watch all the kids. The first one to look out for you if someone is messing with your stuff. The first one to let you know about the latest neighborhood opportunity.

She’ll be who I miss most in my neighborhood. Never take good neighbors for granted.

*Wouldn’t you know that just the other day, my landlord showed up on my doorstep. “It was all a big misunderstanding. You can stay here another 2-3 years if you want.” Besides the fact that we had already closed on the home, my wife has a ritual. On our stairwell, we have what we call our wall of family. Both sides of our family and all of our closest friends have their own framed pictures, and yes, it takes up the whole wall. Right after we got the call that we would have to move, the first thing my wife did was take down all of the pictures. From that moment on, our condo was no longer home. That’s what I told the landlord. (That and I showed him my receipt for our non-refundable, life-savings-as-downpayment.)

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