So today, January 2nd, Mrs. Jones shows up with a bright smile on her very pink lips, and I ask her in.
“Can I offer you some cake, Mrs. Jones?”
“Do call me Ethel. How long have we been neighbors?” Mrs. Jones says.
“It has been a number of years.”
“My name is Yolanda, Mrs. Jones. Ethel, I mean.”
“Thank you, Yolanda, I’d love to have some of your cake.”
I am slightly ashamed it is not home-made.
Mrs. Jones is one of our good neighbors despite her habit of playing loud rock’n roll music once a day – from about 10:45 to 11:30 a.m.
We also have some bad neighbors whose habits are much worse.
“Would you like some coffee with the cake, Mrs. Jones, err Ethel? It’s freshly brewed.”
“That would be lovely, Yolanda.”
So Mrs. Jones and I sit and have cake and coffee, giving the neighbors and their good and bad habits, assorted other people and the world in general a gleeful chew-over.
“Happy new year, Ethel!”
“Happy new year, Yolanda!”
We raise our coffee cups.
– Johannes Beilharz (© 2013)
The story behind this story is that this morning Sadhana had a 10-year-old Italian boy over for English tutoring, with whom she read a story that had a character named Mrs. Jones in it, who ate cake with someone else. (I overheard only this much when I went downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee.) The apparent innocence of this story reminded me of the novel A Nest of Ninnies (1969) by John Ashbery and James Schuyler – which is on my list of all-time favorites –, and I felt compelled to create a short nest of ninnies of my own and to put Mrs. Jones in it.