Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Mr. Wilson

Remember Mr. Wilson? He's the cranky, cantankerous middle aged next-door neighbor to Dennis the Menace. Anyway, we have a Mr. Wilson living next door to us. He sticks out like a sore thumb in this neighborhood of 40 somethings with 3 plus children per household. I'm not sure if the neighborhood grew up around him or if he moved into it knowing what it was. When we moved in last year, we were welcomed by most of our southern neighbors with plates of cookies, plants, cards, etc. When we asked about who lived in the house next door, we were given really negative responses. "It's a single guy, middle aged, no kids. He's a loner, seems pretty strange and you might want to tell your kids to stay out of his yard if you know what I mean." It kind of freaked me out, but then I went on familywatchdog.com to confirm that we have no sex offenders as neighbors and I felt better. Plus--we have an FBI Agent living directly across the street from Mr. Wilson with 4 kids of his own and I'm PRETTY sure he would have checked that situation out. Anyway, we saw Mr. Wilson in the yard or driving by atleast 20 times during our first 2 months in this house but we never got a wave or even a friendly glance. I could hear him talking on his cell phone outside some mornings and he always sounded really grumpy or he was raising his voice at whoever it was. Christmas rolled around and my mom and my Aunt Myrna were here visiting. After hearing about our Mr. Wilson, they convinced my husband and I with their hearts of gold that we NEEDED to march over there with a nice cake, ring the doorbell and introduce ourselves. I remember how nervous I felt when we were walking up his path; I felt anxious and unsure of how it would go. It took him a while to come to the door, but when he did; he seemed genuinely surprised to see us standing there with our cake. My husband said nothing and looked over at me. Ugh! "Hey! We moved in next door a couple months ago and haven't had a chance to meet you yet. Sorry for that. We just wanted to introduce ourselves and give you this holiday gift to say Merry Christmas." He was surprised, humbled, maybe even a little embarrassed. "Oh no you guys--I can't take that. I feel terrible; I should be the one coming over bringing you something." We went on to chat with him in his driveway for quite a while. He told us he was a highschool football coach for 15 years. Who knew? Currently he is selling auto parts which explains the scary looking van he drives. He opened up the back of that van to give us free samples of a fancy fuel cleaner. (I could tell he was eager to give us a gift too.) He was a sweet man and a little lonely I think; I liked him. My husband liked him too. My mother and my aunt were right (as they usually are) and I was so glad we had gone over there. So..almost a year has passed since that first meeting. Mr. Wilson does tend to keep to himself but I always get a friendly wave hello. My husband has had numerous long chats with him standing out in the yard. He LOVES our dog..adores him. And today for the first time ever..Mr. Wilson rang our doorbell. I was quite surprised to see him standing there. He said, "I'm sorry for bothering you but I wanted to ask a question." I smiled--"Sure--what's up?" "Well, since Halloween falls on a Monday night; what night will the children in our neighborhood be doing their trick or treating?" Now I have to tell you that I was laughing inside thinking "you are asking me this because you want to make damn sure you are NOT home for the festivities!" I said, "Well--I think we're still trick or treating on Halloween even though it's a Monday but I can check with a girl on the Board to make sure." And he surprised me once more with his response.."Okay, let me know what you find out because the little girl at T's Corner would like to take her kids trick or treating over here." (T's corner is the little gas station around the corner that sells lunch plates.) "Yes--I will let you know for sure." And as he walked away I was reminded of how easy it is to make judgments or jump to conclusions and why it's never, ever a good idea.


  1. I love this story! It is a beautiful reminder about how a big heart can come in an unusual, unexpected package. Thanks for sharing!! I'm going to whip up (buy) a baked good and meet my neighbors (all two of them).

  2. I love this story too!!! So great! I need to make more of an effort with some of my neighbors as well!