Neighbors Might Make For An Interesting Party


The big talk in the neighborhood right now is about Nancy.

Nancy is a fairly spry 83-year-old, so spry that she takes care of her four-year-old great-grandson several days a week. We all marvel at her.

But she began falling. I suspect Lego bricks on a tile floor, but maybe not. At any rate, the paramedics started showing up every other day or so.

It got so bad that, finally, her daughter took things into her own hands and — did you think I was going to say, “Took Nancy to live with her?” — no. Instead, the daughter moved in, bringing with her the four-year-old and the four-year-old’s mother! In short, there are now three generations of women over there, all their accouterments, and one little boy who is thoroughly over-supervised.

Personally, I cannot see how all this hubbub can possibly be helping Nancy, but I haven’t seen her since they all moved in, and it’s none of my business anyway. For all I know, this circus could’ve been Nancy’s idea.

But yesterday, all that changed when I got out of my car to discover the four-year-old and his mother in my front yard.

“He wanted to see your Christmas decorations up close,” his mother explained, exhaling cigarette smoke as she talked.

“Hi, I’m Debbie,” I said.

“Leckthee,” she said.

We appraised each other — me with my heavily bedazzled reindeer sweater and her with her heavily bedazzled rainbow head.

Turns out “Leckthee” is a hairdresser, not that I’m letting her get near my hair. She has blue hair on one side of her head and no hair on the other. The blue hair is gathered into a top knot, exposing enough ear jewelry to supply a small auto parts store. Where there aren’t nuts and bolts, there are tattoos. She wears black lipstick.

“We couldn’t really thee the decorationth from acroth the threet,” she said, and that was when I realized that her name was Lexie but that the spark plug through her tongue made it difficult to speak. Still, my cavorting Christmas elves had intrigued them, and that carries a lot of weight with me. That, or she was casing the joint.

“There are more inside,” I told them. “Would you like to come in?”

She threw her cigarette butt onto my lawn and trundled in. “Awethome,” she mumbled. We sat and talked for a few minutes while the little guy explored the place, then she had to go. “Thankth for the tour,” she said, immediately lighting up outside. The little boy waved.

So here’s my problem. Every December, I invite the neighbors over for a holiday party. They’re older people, and Nancy is on the list. So, do I invite everyone this year or just her? Will Lexie’s appearance scare people? Will they stay away? Will my party flop?

In cases like this, I ask myself, “What would mom do?” And I remember mom’s advice for parties — invite who you want and if people have a problem with that, it’s their problem. I guess Lexie’s in.