So here's the sad situation.
At the beginning of June, our next door neighbor, Shirley, lost her husband Allen, after a very long illness. It was sad, but sort of a relief for her and her family.
I made baked macaroni and cheese to take over. I rejoiced in becoming a little closer to her, because while we live next door to each other, we really hadn't done much more than wave and smile at each other. It was a delight to find that we had quite a bit in common, despite our age differences. Sitting in her dining room with her and sharing a few Bible verses along with a few memories, well, that was just better than good.
I went to Allen's funeral. Well! That was a CELEBRATION. I posted about it. I can't think about it without getting goosebumps. It had to have been about 2 hours long, but I didn't feel it, I was completely engaged in the experience. The stories and the music shared had a simultaneously spiritual and deeply earthy quality that both transported and grounded. I felt like I knew this family by the time I left the church.
It made me glad to see the friends and family that began to make a habit of gathering at Shirley's on the weekends, and even the odd weeknights, after that. Gathering together is a good thing for everyone.
Suddenly, the garage turned into a rec room. There's a huge tv, a stereo, some sort of game system, and tables and comfy chairs. Well, I'm guessing they're comfy. It's a good guess, because they don't get out of them except to get more beer. Or whatever.
The sound system is impressive. I'll be in the dining room listening to my radio (same room), and when they turn on their system, my radio disappears. Not the physical radio; I mean, I can no longer hear the appliance that is in my room. Oh -- wait. Maybe that's OPRESSIVE. Yeah, that's about right.
The people who come to the garage parties are exclusively men, and they seem to be excluding Shirley's live-at-home adult son Randy. His place is usually on the front porch. It might include her other two sons, Carlton and Bryon. The parties might also include gambling, which is illegal in Cleveland Heights. Probably all over Ohio, but Cleveland Heights is famous for breaking up poker games.
Each weekend the party lasts a little later, gets a little louder.
Thursday night/Friday morning, the police arrived. At 1 am, they were loud, but they quieted down for the motorcycle officer whose bike was quieter than they were. Spent some time complaining about how young and white the cops all are now, before they resumed the previous party's tempo. A little after 2, Shirley scolded them. At 3:40 they were back to yelling up and down the driveway again.
By some marvellous grace, the party broke up just before midnight. Randy was skulking on the front porch. The partymen were yelling derisively up the driveway at one of the other brothers about how pathetic it is for "a fully grown [man] to be livin' off a woman". But the good news was that it was all done before 12.
It's all come full circle. I'm back to grieving for Shirley. I'm a little worried for her, too: I'm concerned that if she's got any control over this, it's limited. We, on the other hand, are going to keep control over what portion we can.
Labels: Blog365, Cleveland Heights, current events, diversity, NaBloPoMo, perspective, rants, social justice, story, transition