There seems always in every neighborhood….an elder, a mean one, that no one wants to speak to, the kids are frightened of. One that has a frown that dips tightly down, nearly to the knees. One that a simple wave or hello draws, at best, a guttural growl and a spiteful look…., while jerking simultaneously around to storm back into the house……..slamming the door in disgust.

Then, of course, every neighborhood has the “Mary Poppins” elder. Merrily working in the flower garden, smiles and sweet greetings to one and all…..cookies and candy for the kids….homemade gifts for everyone at Holidays. Frequent invitations to “stop in and have a coffee”…….the welcome plaque, decorated with multi-coloured wild flowers, centered on the front door for all to see.

Both quite near in age, how did they grow to be so different? Many of us, especially as we gather age unto ourselves, are happy to simply label and then ignore that which is uncomfortable or distasteful in our personal scheme of things. We navigate towards the easy, the “happy”, the effortless encounters.

We, too, settle into our own little backyards. Assume the position that we have no further need nor desire to understand, or deal with, that which doesn’t exactly “fit our bill”.

“What could we do about it anyway? Leave the problems up to the young ones, we’ve done our fair share.” Oft quoted sentiments of us in our advanced years.

Not that I have nor advocate a constant need to know all ……..but, at least, with those in close proximity, I want to know a little something of them. I want to be a part of the “village” so to speak, not just an observer. Though not always an accurate assessment, sometimes, “mean” or “good” does not show its true face.

Some years ago now, two neighbors , very much as described above, captured my interest.

As it turns out, the “meany” had been ostracized by his neighbors as he had” never been married” and “he must be one of those…. you know”.
Fact is, he had been married and had children before moving to this neighborhood. They had died in a horrible car crash and he never recovered from the loss. His initial solitude brought about the gossip, then the labeling, and the eventual bitter attitude of he himself.

And “Mary Poppins”? After her fourth husband seemed to simply disappear off the face of the earth, a bit of digging in those beautiful gardens turned up the skeletons that were definitely NOT in her closet.

So, for me anyway, no matter someone’s initial presentation, I try often to chisel my way below the surface, to get to genuinely know the person, before I choose whether to embrace them or tell them to bug off.

Silly or not, I consider myself a part of this 50’s plus neighborhood, so, if I seem too curious, bear with me, I just wish to be one of the villagers. :)
Nice piece Peach!  A great example of why one should not "judge a book by it's cover".  I am like you. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt no matter what the "herd" is saying/doing.

One day I got a knock on my door and opened it to two teenage African American boys. They asked if they could come in and play the piano.  One of the boys I recognized from the neighborhood.  (I was living in a duplex/townhouse at the time.) I guess they had heard the piano and perhaps saw it when the door was open.

At first I was reluctant, but I thought--well, they seem very eager and they are making a plea.  I also thought I could stand at the doorway in case they had other intentions.  I told them yes and they had the brightest smiles on their faces.

They came in and both sat down on the piano bench and gave the most delightful duet I have ever heard. They stayed and played for about an hour.

A few weeks later, one of the boy's dad came to the door and offered me a ticket to go to a musical in which he was singing opera.

Had I not listened to my intuition and went on rash judgement instead, I would have missed out not only from the duet, but also the musical and making new friends with my neighbors.

   
 
peachShiraz wrote: "Mary Poppins"


Who turned out to be like Elizabeth Báthory, the 16th century Hungarian countess and maybe the most prolific female serial killer of all time. They left Mary's split-personality and dark side out of the movie...'cause it would have shocked too many kids.

"What's under the roses, Mary?" "Just people." Sometimes, clicking her heels meant done burying them. I don't want to track dirt into the house.

True enough...you can never know a pea from its shell. Wait. I a bit messed that up. You can't know a book from its cover...if it doesn't have a cover. A lot of sayings need revised, actually. "Who was that masked man?" "That was either the Lone Ranger...or we just got robbed. I'm a bit light on money now...how 'bout you? Do you feel of kind of robbed?" "He looked like such a nice man." "Yes...until he pulled out his six shooter and pointed it at us and said, give me all your money. I agree. He seemed like a very nice gentleman, until he did that."
Huhhh!..........that's funny, Rod........first, I never heard this comparison.....but, do know of the comparison of Elizabeth to vampires, Vlad lll in particular. Second, an awful lot of people thought it might be "fun" to strap a darker side to the Mary Poppins character, but, to my knowledge it never happened except in theory......

The Mary Poppins character is often utilized to signify extremes in people, much as I used it in this piece, but, thanks for attempting to enhance my basic point, although, I expect any who read it already "got it". Perhaps you might like to share an actual comment regarding the flavor of the piece rather than attempting to rewrite it??
Nice message, Wanda, thanks for sharing
Rod___ wrote:
peachShiraz wrote: "Mary Poppins"


Who turned out to be like Elizabeth Báthory, the 16th century Hungarian countess and maybe the most prolific female serial killer of all time. They left Mary's split-personality and dark side out of the movie...'cause it would have shocked too many kids.

"What's under the roses, Mary?" "Just people." Sometimes, clicking her heels meant done burying them. I don't want to track dirt into the house.

True enough...you can never know a pea from its shell. Wait. I a bit messed that up. You can't know a book from its cover...if it doesn't have a cover. A lot of sayings need revised, actually. "Who was that masked man?" "That was either the Lone Ranger...or we just got robbed. I'm a bit light on money now...how 'bout you? Do you feel of kind of robbed?" "He looked like such a nice man." "Yes...until he pulled out his six shooter and pointed it at us and said, give me all your money. I agree. He seemed like a very nice gentleman, until he did that."


A book with no cover? what kind of a story would it be?
Peach you are one the villagers  :)   Wanda I enjoyed that story  
stardaisy wrote: A book with no cover?


Never seen one? I saw a good many books without covers in my grade school days. Some kids are really hard on books. A book can only be hurled so many times before it loses its cover.

I never did that. I looked after mine. But I'd say at least 3% of kids are into book punishment. Various reasons. Book as football...already lost his...thanks for the loan, you're a pal...hurl, down a hallway...(some kids are incredibly lazy...plus hurling one impresses the girls...there's a real man in the making)...or book as weapon...I don't like you, grrrr...hurl...or this stupid book gives me a headache...hurl. Etc. Then the denuded volume gets noticed by the teacher. What happened to your book? I dunno.
OHH those worn out books
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