My friends, family, and coworkers were a bit surprised when I left Denver—a place I had lived for most of my adult life—to start a life where I knew three people. But it felt like the right thing to do. But the Mister and the Missus B are such people they envelope and welcome newcomers into their circle and tribe with generosity and grace. I knew leaning on them a bit wouldn’t suffocate them and I would develop a circle within their community.
Ms. BB down the road coined the term: Clan of the Yellow House and that’s where the name for my blog originated. Our clan is scattered now: Mr. C and Piper are in Almost Canada looking after his business and my investments. Brother and Gracie are in the upper Midwest where he can see his sweet daughter more frequently if not every day. I miss Brother and his quiet presence, deadpan humor and sweet Gracie dog. Some days the house feels empty as I rattle around in it. Those are the days I take myself down the road to Mr. and Mrs. B’s where I can snuggle with them and their doggies. He pulls my pigtails in such a way it’s like having Mr. C The Incorrigible Tease at home. She has a quiet, forthright, and loving way about her that makes me feel at peace and has buoyed me in ways I can’t articulate. Have you ever just felt better for being in the same room with the energy of a person? Yup. That’s R. I want to bottle up that warmth, drink it and be it. I also know if something terrible happened with the furnace, the hot water heater, or whatnot at the house Mr. B would be here quickly to help me sort things out. Fortunately, I’ve not needed his assistance.
I can call J for a trip to the gym or a margarita. She’s rambunctious and fun without being over the top. She is also strong, smart, and capable. Just the sort of women I’m drawing to me in my new town. If I’m lonely I can call on Ms. BB, too. Share a laugh and discover what is new in her world. She is busy with her job and a son poised to fly the nest. I don’t see her enough and this is one of the things I’m going to remedy in the new year. My hairdresser–R–has become a friend, too. When I met her I was still in my back brace and we managed together to put me in a shampoo chair and “comfortably” rinse out the color I desperately needed. I was in a fog of pain and fatigue but she managed to make me laugh. Over the spring and summer, we discovered we have a lot on in common. When I’m by her shop I’ll just stop in and say hello to her because her sunny smile and delight with life is infectious. I’m hopeful by next summer I’ll feel brave enough to meet her horses that are stabled just down the road from the yellow house.
I don’t really have neighbors but most days it feels like a whole town of neighbors. The people here will smile and speak to you. You see the same faces in one place and then other’s which always warrants a nod or at the very least a flicker of recognition via raised eyebrows and a slight smile. There are artists with brightly colored hair and highly decorated arms living alongside nuclear families with 2.5 children, farmers who have moved to town but still dress as if they are farming out east. Perhaps I’m Pollyanna and I can’t see it but there is ease and co-mingling of people from different walks of life you don’t see in bigger places. Perhaps this smaller pond forces us to accept people who might not share our values and interests.
The other night as J and I left one of our favorite fine drinking establishments we noticed a man standing against the wall of a building, talking and gesturing to himself. He was urging himself on: “No not that one…not like that…easy now…” My heart opened in pity. We don’t have too many homeless people and it’s rare to see them in our Mayberryesque downtown. I also realized in downtown Denver I would have shrugged my shoulders and looked away hoping he didn’t come over and start babbling at us.
I looked over at J and she had noticed him too. We rounded the corner to the parking lot and looked over at him because he was still issuing directions to no one–or so we thought. We spied a tiny toddler in front of a newspaper box easily two inches taller than she was as she struggled to get a single paper rather than all of them. We burst out laughing: “Oh that explains it! We thought you were Loveland’s Crazy Guy! We couldn’t see your baby from the street!” Rather than insulted he laughed with us and waved as we all turned to go and his pretty daughter grasped her paper to trundle behind Papa as they walked home.
Home. Yes. Indeed.