Grumble, grumble, grumble.
So I reluctantly got off my sofa, padded into the living room and opened the door.
There stood my across-the-street neighbors, TJ Strickland and his wife, Christie, and their two precious – or is it precocious? – young children, Ellie and Jackson. Ellie might be 5 years old. Jackson might be 3.
|The Stricklands bring the neighborhood some holiday cheer.*|
I melted like butter for a sugar cake. It's not often you get Christmas carolers at your front door.
I smiled as the Stricklands were singing, and they smiled back. When they were done, Kim came to the door. She had been on the phone with a neighbor, but when she heard the singing on our front porch, she came to see what it was all about.
"Oh, there's Kim," said Christie, and the next thing we knew, they were singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
And they were pretty good, too. Even their kids knew all the words, which to me was impressive. And maybe precocious (Jackson added to the effect by wearing an oversized Santa hat). They all sang on key. Wow.
When they were done, we had a brief, happy chat with them, and told them how good they were and thanked them for coming to our house. Kim hugged everybody in sight because that's what she does, while I pretty much stood flatfooted with a silly grin on my face because that's pretty much what I do. Too bad we didn't have any eggnog or wassail to share with them. That would have made it perfect.
We did suggest they go to a neighbor's house – the one Kim had been on the telephone with – and off they went to spread the spirit on an otherwise cold, damp night.
As it turns out, the Stricklands did show up on a few more porches that night, singing the songs of the season and spreading their good cheer.
Every once in a while I might remark and write about what a special neighborhood we live in, of how the sidewalks and alleys bring us closer together, of how we socialize, commune and commiserate with one another, openly sharing our joys and sorrows. I've never seen anything quite like this in a neighborhood before and the experience can be humbling.
Yes, I think I see it now: Our neighborhood is our Christmas gift to each other.
Merry Christmas, Stricklands. And Merry Christmas to all.
*Photo by Amy (or Jim) Horn.