Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Undoing the Damage, part 2

Cookies are the answer.

Wait, what was the question?

How do we assuage the pain and isolation of suffering people like Rachelle Grimmer and the woman from Boston?

Besides the unbelievable sadness, two things stood out in the story of the Grimmers:

Oscar Cuerrlar, a carpenter and neighbor in the Laredo trailer park where they moved in the spring, said he brought the family grilled fish and chicken after Grimmer's request for food stamps was denied ... 
Manager Janie Rodriguez's office was next to Grimmer's [RV] lot, and the two became close. 

Considering that more news is coming out suggesting that Rachelle Grimmer was indeed mentally ill, probably nothing could've stopped the shooting. However, not everyone in dire straits is going to do something that drastic. You'll hear many a person complain that we don't know our neighbors anymore, but usually that's an example of how Americans are isolated and make and break friendships more easily than they used to. But Rachelle Grimmer had neighbors who cared for her and helped take care of her. They knew her. They knew her situation. In the end they were powerless to stop it, but their kindness and friendship won't be forgotten in heaven.

I don't even know my neighbors' names.

So, after shaking off a few days of depression, I set to work in the kitchen making gluten-free, vegan molasses cookies for the neighbors.

They didn't have to be gluten-free, but I wasn't about to go buying wheat flour and risk getting sick. Neighbors will never know they're gluten-free anyway. 

Yes, it's an extremely small gesture, but it's our little beginning. One of our neighbors wasn't home, and we still don't know the name of the other one, but Chris says we're now more likely to say hi whenever we see each other. Hopefully we'll all slowly get to know each other better. 

I have my doubts that either of my neighbors are needy, but frankly you never know anymore. In this supposedly improving economy, people of any class can end up penniless because of getting laid off or being unable to find a job. Our neighborhood is predominantly minorities and renters (students), and I can say safely that we've never lived anywhere where our neighbors were guaranteed to be secure and wealthy. 

Yes, it's a very small gesture indeed. But considering what a notorious recluse I am, it's a big step forward for me. 

"Think globally, act locally." Very locally. I feel like I've run out of eloquence (if I ever had any), but I think we could all do tremendous good if we just knew the people who live closest to us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so special, my daughter!