They broke it to us gently prior to any public announcement. Still, it came as quite a shock to see the bright red sign in our beloved neighbor’s front yard.
“For Sale By Owner.”
We won’t have to look at the offensive sign very long, I’m sure, because this particular owner is a retired real estate agent and that particular house has been coveted by almost everyone who has strolled past.
Even more valuable than the home or the property are the neighbors themselves, our friends Janet and Doug, whom we’ve written about before.
He, a 91-year old WWII veteran who survived the Battle of the Bulge, the greatest land battle in the history of the U.S. army, and she, an even more formidable lovely, lovely woman, have been our friends since we first moved in.
We danced with them at the Harvest Moon Ball, and sipped cocktails on their back patio as we admired their pristine yard. Our phone seems to ring especially cheerfully when it’s Janet on the other end, “Say, could you use a couple of…fresh tomatoes from the garden… biscotti from a recipe I wanted to try… hot doughnuts I just made this morning… blueberry pie I pulled out of the oven.”
A few years ago when our children were much younger Doug took me aside.
“You tell them if they’re ever afraid of anything, if someone scares them and you’re not around, they should just run straight to our house,” he said.
Doug earned a bronze star and an oak leaf cluster as a member of General Patton’s army. He’s a formidable man, and a sweet friend. Yesterday Doug and I chatted while Janet showed one of the many interested parties through their house.
“It’s been a good life. I’m lucky,” he said. “It hasn’t been an easy life, but it’s been a good one.”
We plan to meet our neighbors once a month for dinner. After all, they’re only moving across town. Still, we’re going to miss seeing Doug stroll by, stopping occasionally to chat and ask amiably if we’re planning to cut the grass soon.
It’s not every day you get to live next door to a couple of genuine American heroes.