When I was a student teacher, the lead teacher came in one day sputtering about how ungrateful one of her neighbors was. She was sure it was going to be a deal breaker as far as neighborhood friendships were concerned. It was going to be the finish to what had been a lovely little tradition that everyone looked forward to at the end of a work day.
During the part of the day, when no one notices the sun is starting its decline and before most of the work-a-day people return to the neighborhood, some of the people who were available took advantage of that small window and got together, put up some lawn chairs, and had that first glass of wine.
They were composed mostly of stay at home wives, people that got out of work earlier in the day, and retired people. As far as gender goes, the group was made up of all women except the rather handsome divorced retiree who’s driveway and garage opening they used for their outdoor/slightly indoor restaurant/bar.
Ohhh the giggles and stories. Such fun. Everyone looked forward to that happy hour time with good drink and good friends. Real life was waiting for them after happy hour. Maybe each one of them could take turns making some kind of appetizer to pass for the following day? Good thoughts to hang onto as they finished off a bottle while doing chores at home.
“But, all good things come to an end.” she mumbled through clenched teeth. The “girls” decided to do something nice to show their appreciation for the man that hosted mini-party after mini-party in his drive. When the light rain threatened, it made them inch into the garage opening. That put a little dampness on the party.
What better way to thank him than to go over some day when he had to be away, sneak into his garage, and clean up all those tools and pieces of wood and trashy kind of things and make the garage into a lovely place to work and play?
They cleaned and organized him. It was perfect, so my lead teacher explained to me.
“And you know what happened?” she said.
I feigned ignorance, due to my very subordinate position. “No, what?” I questioned.
“We arrived as usual for our afternoon gathering. When he opened the garage, he started huffing and actually acted angry! No thank yous. No appreciation. Not even a smile from that man. He was very quiet and actually was kind of snippy. No wonder he’s divorced! We’re done with that man.”
I slumped my shoulders, shook my head, and quietly said, “The very idea …!”
She wasn’t herself for several days. Maybe no one learned anything from that series of events, but maybe … me.
-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"