I eagerly awaited my copy of The Costume Trunk because it was a children’s book and I could not wait to read it with my son who is almost five. As soon as he saw the book he said, “Ugh, this book is yucky, it’s for girls!” I told him how Mommy was reading this book for her writing and I needed to read this to him so I could get a reaction from him. “I won’t do it!, Tyler howled.
Sigh. I felt a little twinge, the same way I learned when Tyler was a boy at first. Please don’t get me wrong, Tyler is my one and only, my treasure and I could not imagine having a girl. But the book reader in me felt upset that we would not be able to share some of the classics that were normally read to little girls. Madeline or Edith the Lonely Doll, for example. When he grew older I would not be able to pass him down my collectible beloved blue Nancy Drews or share the Little House on the Prairie series with him.
I need to give the book to a little girl, I wanted to at least get a reaction from a child, since this was a children’s book after all.
On Monday, I met a woman named “Rebah”. Tyler had just started Sports Camp this past week. The local school was teaming with different camps in the fairly large building. I parked my car and went into what I thought might be the main entrance that would take me to the gym.
I was wrong. I was told where Tyler and I had to go was another entrance that was a two block walk.
I am disabled. Walking two blocks is nearly impossible for me…walking back…I didn’t know how I was going to do it.
That’s when I met Rebah. I was asking the camp counsellors if they knew of anyone who could drive me back because of the great pain and exhaustion I would have to suffer. “I’ll drive you back”, Rebah said. “Really???” “Sure, it’s no trouble.” After both of us dropping our kids off, we started talking. It turned out Rebah was sick too, but she also did not look it. I knew her diseases better than she did, and she also had some neurological difficulties, but nothing that would preclude her from driving a car or loving her children.
“Thank you! Thank you!”, I exclaimed. “It was no problem, it took us under two minutes by car”, she smiled. I got out and said I probably would see her later.
I had no idea what would come later in the week.
My mother arrived on Wednesday night and she was happy to accompany Tyler to camp while I drove. I got into the car and started screaming. The pain was so bad, I thought maybe it was a tick entring my body, although that has never happened to me before. “Mom, I have a tic! Come help me get it out!” My mother came running. “Emily, there is no tic”, my mother said. Well something had either bitten or stung my neck, the spreading rash and entry point of the bug, evident. Armed with my Epi Pen, I decided to make the drive to Tyler’s camp.
Excuse my language, but it was hurting like a bitch! I saw Rebah as we walked Tyler up to the gymnasium. “I have Benedryl in my car if you want.” “Oh, yes, please I would love a couple of Benedryl!”
I walked back to her car. She had brought her little boy with her and he appeared to be of Asian origin. I felt comfortable enough to ask her if her husband was Asian. “No”, she said. “My husband and I were unable to have children of our own so we adopted two children from China. My son here who is three and my little girl who goes to the camp.” This was so fascinating, I wish that I had the time to hear more!
Then I hear my mother scream! The damned beast that had left it’s mark on me and taken the ten minute ride with us, and when my mother got into the car, stung or bit her! There was Rebah with some Benedryl and a first aid kit, which she simply gave to us. After hearing that I had an Epi Pen and was allergic to bee stings, she insisted on following me home, which was in the complete opposite direction for her.
I was stunned. People just do not do those kinds of things any more, you know? I thanked her profusely. “Oh, I was just being neighborly”
Neighbors do not usually do these kinds of things and Rebah was not even my neighbor! I told her this and she laughed. “Yeah, my mother always says, I am not just nice, I am “Minnesota” nice.” It made me quickly want to move to Minnesota as I wanted to live in just such a place where people were so kind to each other.
On Friday, the last day of camp, I wanted to do something special for her, only I do not have any money.
But I had The Costume Trunk and wouldn’t it be a lovely gift for her little girl, Elizabeth?
I was pleased to give her the book yesterday morning and she was shocked that I would give her such a beautiful gift for her child. I told her that it had really been no trouble. It was free, I explained about my blog and The From Left to Write book club that I was in. She was glowing and so was I.
The warm feelings that you get from “being neighborly” and people exchanging kindnesses is kind of the same feeling you will get when you read The Costume Trunk, which is a lovely book, both to look at and read.
I plan to make it my business to hold on to Reba’s telephone number and she asked for all of my contact information.
Because good neighbors sure are hard to come by.