They seem insignificant, almost wispy, moments. Spun together in our memories, though, they're like silk filaments becoming a skein, then a scarf, then a gift. A misdelivered letter, a plate of cookies, the lawnmower episode, and kids being kids—those, and other strands woven together by the ordering Principle, linked neighbors across an awkward silence.
We lived on a corner with just one nearby neighbor, a small white Capestyle home. One by one the family's three children married and moved away. We, too, felt a little like empty nesters, especially when the for-sale sign went up in their yard.
One day Larry stopped by to tell us he'd sold the house to a family from Hong Kong. Our city was becoming a gateway for Asian immigrants, and the change wasn't being universally welcomed. There were confrontations at the high school, comments about the newcomers from people whose parents had been immigrants.