Friday, December 28, 2012
Mother and I were sitting at the breakfast table with our tea, crumpets and shirred eggs when a Buick stopped in front of the “For Lease” sign at the house next door. Now we had some anxiety about the class of neighbour we might receive.
Mother looked at the Buick and noted that it really did need to be cleaned and what a pity it was that they had parked it right behind our Lincoln. “Not our kind of people, I imagine,” said Mother, “I really do wish we could have the right sort of neighbors.”
She looked at me archly and said sotto vocé, “Isn’t there something you can do Alfred to ensure that they don’t lease that house?”
I looked out the window at the Buick and noticed that it wasn’t even a newer model. “Mother,” said I, “I have an idea.”
Rising from the breakfast table I retired to my dressing room and stripped down to my boxer shorts, of course taking time to hang my silk shirt and paisley ascot on a wooden hanger. I put on a pair of black socks and rolled one of them down to the ankle, put on my Turkish towel bathrobe, messed my hair up and headed for the front door, tipping Mother a wink, and on the way seizing a Havana Churchill cigar and jamming it in my mouth.
Once out the door I staggered down towards the front sidewalk scratching my derriere and letting out a loud belch. Now I don’t usually do either of those things, certainly not in public, but I must admit to a certain subtle pleasure in both of those rude exhibitions.
The mailbox was situated right in front of where they had the effrontery to sit in their regrettable automobile. Putting on a rather finely tuned drama I staggered drunkenly, lunged for the mailbox, saw that of course it was empty and said loudly, “Damn! Damn! Damn!” and fell as awkwardly as I could to the ground. Then I started a very awkward and admirable ascent to the standing position by raising the posterior portion of my anatomy as high as I could in the air whilst keeping my face on the ground. Slowly I pulled myself upright, hand over hand on the mailbox.
The Buick door opened and a balding, unshaven and grossly fat man, wearing shorts and a dirty t-shirt, leveraged himself out of his vehicle declaiming loudly, “It’s alright Martha. Don’t worry about the Lincoln. They’re our kind of people.” Which goes to show that whether or not you like it there are all kinds of people; but as Mother says, “Well, Alfred! They don’t need to live next door.”
St. James gives us some very pointed instructions about how we are to regard others. “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet, have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" (James 2:1-4).