Monday, December 22, 2014

Love thy neighbor...and magic cookie bars


here's a story
about a long distance romance...

It stars a young couple from LA, California, who moved to the deep south of Alabama...
and whose hearts became indelibly changed by 
the hospitality of the South and the love of their neighbors.




I never understood how neighbors would shape my life 
and be such a blessing until we moved early in our marraige, 
to a very small Alabama neighborhood in Auburn. 
 You see, we had never even met our neighbors in California 
after two and a half years.  
We never thought anything of it.  People just minded their own business. 

I remember how startled my husband and I were 
when we saw this older gentleman walk up the street to greet us 
as we were unloading groceries from our car.
We honestly didn't know what to do as this virtual stranger just started talking to us...
do we keep unloading? 
do we stand there while our milk gets warm? 
do we invite him in?

Mr. Davis never seemed phased by our lack of social skills early on...
he continued to stop by when we were out and about....
and we quickly grew to enjoy the brief interruptions from our lovely neighbor...
...always smiling,
...always with a story
..and often with something to give us..
Once it was a small seedling he had started for our garden.
Another time he brought fresh green peas from his own garden.
He was always "checking in on us."  
And along the way...he taught us about 
relocating hydrangeas, 
and when the best time to get the tomatoes in the ground.  
He would share stories from his past..his time as a professor...his time in the military...
...always laughing and his eyes twinkling.   
My favorite treat came around the holidays...
He would spoil us with "fresh" pecans he harvested and shelled,
from the many old growth pecan trees in our neighborhood.  
These pecans are the sweetest, plumpest nuts you've ever tasted.  
Not like the kind you buy in the store.

As time went by, we found we were going to move again.  
With great sadness, I left a neighborhood 
that had become my first family away from relatives.  
And as I was settling us into our new home in Arizona and was missing my old neighbors..
...come December...I received a small brown package...and in it were pecans from Mr. Davis.
This package brought tears to my eyes....
and it still does every year...
You see...without fail...this package has arrived on our doorstep every year
for the past 13 years...
The sweet Mr. Davis...(82) still hand picks and shells about a pound of special nuts for us;
and brings a smile to my face and a warmth to my household
that can only be described as a deep love
for my sweet long distance neighbor who continues to "love on us" from afar.
We used these delicious beauties to make special treats...
 Magic Cookie Bars!
 This year we shared with our teachers and neighbors...
spreading the love
as best we can
as he taught us so well...

 Magic Cookie Bar Recipe!
Love this sweet treat every year...
Melt a stick of butter in a 9 x 13 dish
Sprinkle 1 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs on the butter.
Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the crumbs.
Sprinkle a cup of chocolate chips evenly over that.
Then add coconut flakes evenly on top of that.
And top with your favorite crushed nuts.
pecans are awesome :o)
bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
..and you have the most heavenly, gooey, yummy mixture of goodness known to man!
Make some to share with your neighbor 
and wish them a Merry Christmas!



2 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! what a beautiful story. :) I grew up in a neighborhood like that where everyone looked out for each other. I know my neighbors now but no one is ever out in their yard anymore & if they are they seem in such a hurry I rarely do more than say hi. I do live in a somewhat rural neighborhood though - down a country gravel road. But we have a lot of walkers/runners/gardeners so I do see people out some. Mr Davis has inspired me to try harder to reach out to my neighbors.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet comment Jenny! It is so hard to step out and connect with people. I think that is what Mr. Davis has taught me the most...he just kept loving on us...and we didn't even realize we needed it...and he never expected anything in return. I send him hug cards each years from afar...they are like family now. You will be blessed by blessing others. thanks for stopping by. xoxoaimee

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