September 26, 2011
Getting to know you
We went around the room doing introductions: a labor & delivery nurse, a stay-at-home Mom, a Mary Kay rep (and great-grandmother) in her 80's, a single woman who is a Counselor, a Grandma, a Mom/part-time finance person (with three adopted children), Counselor/Mom, Mom, Mom, and then our fearless leader. This group has met for years on Friday mornings: a tight-knit group who've mostly lived in Oak Cliff all their lives. I was invited to join them by a woman at Tyler Methodist.
I joined the study in the second week. They're going through a book by Beth Moore called "Jesus". It's a study of the book of Luke that takes 18 weeks. After a warm welcome, the group had a lot of questions for me:
"When are you due? Two weeks! My goodness, you're tiny. What are you having? Where is your house? How long have you been here. Are you working?"
"Where's your mother?" (this from the labor/delivery nurse). I answered, "She's been dead for 14 years." With a sympathetic shrug she continued, "Well, maybe it's a God thing you're in this group, we're all happy to help with baby stuff!"
Other women chimed in, "Yeah, I have a 14-year old and a 17-year old who love to babysit. Heck, I'm underemployed right now, I'll come babysit!" "Bring the baby to the group, we'll all love to take turns holding him."
After years of being one of the 'old married people' compared to many of the people in my small groups, being in a group of women that includes a great-grandmother (with fiesty red hair) is wonderful. I also loved that the discussion was very earthy and authentic. It didn't feel like 'Southern Hospitality' where there's a facade of warmth, but then people are stuck with masks (stereotype, I know!).
One of the other things we did with Mom K was to go to a neighborhood bbq in the next block. The hosts were a lesbian couple with twins (one has my first name, the other has a variation on my middle name. Easy to remember!). We sat across the circle of chairs from them and Mom K kept thinking that the guy sitting next to the couple was the Dad. It must have taken 10 variations of me or Jrex saying, "No, it's the two women in the red baseball hats. They're the parents." She also thought there were a lot of housemates there, she didn't realize they were all gay couples.
One of the older gentlemen at the event is actually Santa Claus. He drives a red car with a vanity plate and does dozens of gigs each season. Apparently he really decks out his house, too.
We found out a ton of gossip about our house. They called the guy two owners ago "Na zi Ni ck"; I didn't find out why because his mother was chatting with another group nearby, but I'd met her and she's a really interesting woman who's originally from Germany. I HOPE the name isn't a reference to her heritage, cause that would be really lame. Especially since the woman who was telling me was also going on and on about the super-organic day care that she runs. She called the most recent owner "Daddy War bucks" because he was bald and poured so much money into this house. When we explained which house we'd bought, many of them exclaimed, "Oh! You bought Big Brown!"
I guess this is the joy and the craziness of a "real" neighborhood, huh? People have been here for years and know each others' histories. I wonder what nicknames we'll end up getting? Probably "The Slackers"! We were informed that our street goes nuts with Hallowe'en decorations and Christmas--we've NEVER been good with that. The guy across the street from us does a hearse filled with dry ice, people drop off car loads of children to trick-or-treat our street. I think that this year we have a valid out due to the baby, but I guess we'll be in trouble if we opt out in the future. Guess we still had better stock up on candy, huh? Mom K will be back with us for Halloween this year. Should be fun (and very amusing).
It was strange to go from that BBQ to the Bible study. For the area within a few blocks of us, we have one of the bigger houses and seem like 'rich' people. A little further north in Oak Cliff, there's an area called Kessler Park that has really big mansions, rolling hills, and a golf course. The Bible study is in a house just off the golf course. In that group, I'm definitely NOT one of the rich ones. (Note: the houses below ARE in Kessler, but they're much bigger than the house where the study is...)
We went to a pool party yesterday to welcome new faculty. Jrex was one of the guests of honor. THAT neighborhood has "Oh-My-God!" mansions. It's in a northern part of Dallas that's very wealthy. It all circles back to making me so, so grateful for the house/street/neighborhood where we get to raise a kid. I love the diversity around us and that there's a mix of rich and poor and that we'll get to know people from so many walks of life.