El Granada, the nicest neighborhood
Mr. McCormick was, indeed, El Granada's most wanted neighbor--wanted by everyone who needed help. At 71 years, retired but never tired, he was the hardest worker at his age one could ever come across. We met him for the first time when my son wanted to do away with the dangerously hanging branches of the old eucalyptus tree in his compound, and I went to Mr. McCormick to borrow his chainsaw, which I had earlier seen him working with. He not only lent us the equipment, but came along to show us how to use the same, and then stayed on to cut all the branches that needed to be cut. He was convinced in his mind that the job was beyond us.
It was a pleasant surprise one morning to see strawberry saplings on our doorsteps. These had been left by Mr. Hutchins, who lived three houses away, just because Jeet, my wife, had appreciated his garden a day earlier and had told him of her own interest in gardening. Margaret, Mr. Hutchin's wife, was no less generous. She brought a basket full of fresh apples from her favorite tree in their garden. The saplings of fruit plants and fresh green apples continued to come every other day from the garden of this great couple.
Watching us weeding wild growth with bare hands and without proper tools, Tom, our neighbor across the street, came over with all his garden tools and a pair of unused garden gloves, making our work much easier. His wife Jennifer, noticing that Jeet was always knitting when not working on the garden, presented her with a big bundle of beautiful white wool. She said this was left by her mother-in-law and was lying unused as Jenny did not know how to knit.
Betsy became our best friend from day one of our arrival. She had a special fascination for India and was very excited to have us as her neighbors. She loved to join us at lunch to enjoy Jeet's Indian delicacies, and talk for hours about life in India, especially the spiritual teachings and meditation, she was keen to learn about.
Whenever we asked Cindy, the owner of El Granada's Thrift Store, the cost of any item, she would smile and say, "Take it". It was because she had become our very good friend. But what about Mr. X on St. Carlos Avenue, who did not know us, but waited for us with bag full of fresh lemons from his tree? We had only admired the tree for its beautiful lemons while passing in front of his house during our daily morning walks, and he had overheard us.
There were many more examples of over-whelming warmth, love and care we got from the great El Granada community, that made our stay there the most charming experience of our life, which we always cherish.