I have a list taped to my refrigerator to keep track of all my dishes out on loan, all of them were used to deliver pie to neighbors — either a slice, a mini size, or a whole pie. The list includes:
Syliva: Limoges dessert plate
Stacy: Pyrex pie dish
Sharon: Bennington Pottery pie dish
Elizabeth: handmade ceramic bowl
Weeks have gone by and even after I’ve mentioned my desire to have my prized dishes back (the Limoges belonged to my grandmother, the handmade bowl from Germany was a gift from Marcus, the Bennington Pottery was a gift from Nan), even left friendly reminder notes, I have not gotten my dishes back. I am now placing these friends on my other list: “Bad Borrowers,” those who do not return things promptly. Shame on you! I am running out of serving dishes to bake pies for others in need.
But there is one friend who not only goes on the “Good Borrowers” list, she moves straight to the top! She is Heather, my new neighbor, who stopped by to say hi on Saturday. I was outside vacuuming the RV and MINI — getting ready for another road trip?! — and she sat down on the steps, in the sun, chatting with me while I worked. Eventually it occurred to me to just stop what I was doing, to be neighborly. To pause. To breathe. “Can I make you a latte?” I offered as we continued to chat on the sidewalk. “Come on upstairs.”
Heather was only half way through her coffee when her boyfriend came by and she had to go. Knowing I had given her my highly cherished mug, the one with the picture of the motorscooter that reads “My journey begins today” — another irreplaceable gift from Marcus — I bravely said, “Go ahead. Take it with you.” But if anything happens to that mug…
Less than one hour later, the coffee mug was sitting on my staircase filled with the most vibrant (one could even say flourescent) daisies. My eyes grew wide with surprise and my mouth broke into an even wider smile.
There is an old etiquette rule about never returning a dish empty. I’m impressed that Heather has either read Emily Post’s book on good manners or she is simply by nature a very thoughtful, conscientious person. And while I feel it is sufficient to return a dish clean with a simple thank-you note, I would settle for unclean and no note just to get my things back in a timely manner. So look out, those of you on the “bad” list. You’ve been publicly outed!