Here’s our heartwarming story from our street in Oakland, California. It is a one-block street of 40 houses, bookended by perpendicular streets on both ends. For decades we have had a very active social life together. It started out when we set up a neighborhood watch program for the block, so we put together a house-by-house contact list of everyone’s names, their pets, any special needs, etc. Over the years, it has branched out into well-developed friendships, neighbors helping neighbors, wonderful holiday gatherings, mutual pet-sitting, and now, during the pandemic, hula-hooping outside at a safe distance.
Last week, one of the neighbors heard from our wonderful mail carrier, Pedro, that he was regretfully changing his route to one with fewer hills. As he explained, “I’m not getting any younger.” Pedro is one of those gentle souls you don’t run across very often in life. She posted the sad news to our email chain, and proposed the wonderful idea of making a mini-mailbox filled with cards and gifts from folks on the block. One his last day, we had lookouts posted to catch him when he arrived on the block. Then we put the word out on our email chain. We had a brief gathering outside to tell him how much we’d miss him, and to give him our best wishes. We could tell he was really touched.