Have you ever done a favor and realized that you got much more in return than you gave?
Normally, my posts are about food or cooking. But this one is about the loveliest afternoon I have spent in my kitchen in a long time.
I was cooking and writing on a beastly hot afternoon last week when the doorbell rang. I live in the city and try to be cautious about deciding whether or not to open the door. As I looked through the peephole I saw a vaguely familiar teenage girl, but I couldn’t identify her. I asked her something, but either she didn’t hear me or I didn’t hear the answer.
After a moment’s hesitation, I opened the door to find a teenage neighbor. She and her two younger sisters had accidentally locked themselves out of their house as they went to water a vacationing neighbor’s flower garden. My teenage neighbor wanted to call her parents to get one of them to leave work and unlock their door. Of course, I gave her my phone to call, but she couldn’t reach either of them.
All my parental instincts kicked in. After gentle questioning, I figured out that the three girls, ranging in age from about 9 to 14 years old, had been trying to get back into the house for hours. It was mid-afternoon and they hadn’t had lunch, it was almost 100 degrees outside and they were at their wits’ end.
I sent my teenage neighbor to collect her sisters. They arrived, hot and hungry. We took care of that with tall glasses of water, a frittata, and a few leftover watermelon popsicles. (The food in my house often comes from or goes into blogposts☺.) As the girls whiled away a few hours at my kitchen table, we chatted amiably. Playing board games and cards, they were truly kind to each other – not a forgone conclusion among siblings as any parent of more than one kid will tell you. They may have been on “company behavior”, but if they were acting, they should go immediately get an agent and go to Hollywood.
When the girls’ parents came home and collected them, I was able to concentrate on my work in a way that wasn’t possible when they were here. Still I was sorry to see them go. Early this week, I heard another knock at my door and went to answer it. But this time my three charming neighbors came with a beautiful card, a bouquet, and their beaming mom in tow. Glancing over my laptop at the flowers or card, I’m still smiling, days later.