Monday, December 17, 2007

Alabaster: Living large when you have little

Many of you know I'm getting divorced. As a result, Philip and I have moved to a tiny rental house in Alabaster. It was the only place we could find that would take 3 big dogs--and wasn't scary. Some would say it's the 'step down' my mother cautioned me not to take. It's proven to be one of the best moves ever.

Philip and I immediately warmed to the city when Nancy, the receptionist at City Hall, invited us to call her personally if we had any problems with our garbage pick up. Then she said over her shoulder, "What day is garbage pick-up on Brown Circle?" Several ladies popped out of their cubicles to provide the answer--all knowing where Brown Circle was. And there's the city's monthly newsletter listing local happenings. That's where I learned that the little yellow signs on my street are where Santa will stop to visit on Christmas Eve. The people in Alabaster look different--less polished, less manufactured--and act different--they look you in the eye and their smile goes all the way up into their eyes, even when you just crashed carts at the grocery store. The people in Alabaster are real.

My neighbor Jeff, is a truck driver for Saginaw Pipe. I felt like I was home the minute he introduced himself. Jeff seems to be related to half the residents of this subdivision. (You can see his step-daughter's first lesson on a Scrollworks cello here.) He and Philip talk cars. His wife Jill, and I talk dogs. Here's their Jack Russell/hound puppy, Sniper.

I walk my dogs around to the highway and past the Chevron station where the early morning commuters always say hello. There is one small house I go by that has an enclosed porch crammed full of stuff--plants, suncatchers, furniture. There are always 3 or 4 cars parked out front. This morning I noticed that what I thought were storage sheds in the backyard may actually be minuscule homes. But this little house has filled its tiny yard with the most joyous Christmas decorations. You may have spent hundreds on your waving inflatable snowmen and have color-coordinated the ornaments on your tree, but your magazine-perfect Christmas will be shallow compared with the simple but sincere depth of holiday cheer on my street.


HEWY said...

Wow! Sorry to hear about the divorce. I'm dying to see 'I am Legend'. I just finished the book. It looks like they did change a few things (the dog's role for instant). I can't wait but I think I might have to wit because my children want to goto Chipmunks..sigh

Jeane Goforth said...

The movie was great and much in the spirit of the book. They played Chipmunk songs the whole time before the movie. That was irritating. I could take one, or even a few, but 30 minutes of Chipmunks...

The divorce, well, it's a challenge, but something I needed to do.