We have lived next door to Frank and Tony for over 12 years now, and there are so many reasons why we are grateful to have them as our neighbors and friends. They have been welcoming and generous towards us since the day we moved in, always inviting us to their family gatherings, bringing gifts from their trips, and always being very attentive to Theo and checking in on how he’s doing at school and with his friends. Thanks to Frank, who has for several seasons given us extra tickets to Dodgers games, Theo has been able to enjoy watching his local baseball team from good seats, and once watched in awe as his Daddy actually caught a foul ball. After our house fire, Frank and Tony were there for us in so many ways, watching over the house for us while we were living elsewhere, dealing with construction work going on next to them day after day, and letting us know when things weren’t going well on our block. Even after we moved back in, they were heroic. One week after we moved back into our house, Theo had caught head lice at school, and our new washer and dryer had not been installed properly. I was distraught, as I had to wash all the bedding and lots of clothes and towels. When I knocked on their door and asked them if I could wash and dry several loads of potentially louse-ridden laundry at their house, they didn’t even wince.
Over the years, we have been through many milestones with them: the death of Frank’s father and of David’s mother, Theo’s birth, Tony’s cancer, our house fire, the death of two of their dear dogs and our precious cat, and their legal marriage after many years living together. For too many of these years we have also unfortunately been involved in a strained relationship with another of our neighbors, which has been difficult but has ultimately brought the four of us closer. I think Frank and Tony and David and I have come to value good neighbors all the more because of it. Today, I decided to give them a CD and chose k.d. lang and Tony Bennett’s A Wonderful World, a delightful collaboration between two of the finest voices of our time and a lovely collection of upbeat and soulful songs that will cheer up any room. The CD is also a reminder that it is beloved family, warm friends and good neighbors who make our world so wonderful.