Our backyard neighbors are a lovely couple who we’ve gotten to know little by little during the few years we’ve lived in our historic neighborhood. When we arrived, Ryan lived alone. We knew him as a headstrong bachelor who updated his house room-by-room and window by window with his own two hands and some help from a collective of friends from the neighborhood.
Two summers ago Ryan ripped down the old white picket fence that separated our properties. We enjoyed a summer of visiting due to the wide-open space. Neighbors found our yard to be a short cut to get to Ryan’s house and we didn’t mind one bit.
That’s around the time when we met Heather, Ryan’s sweet girlfriend, then fiancé, and now wife.
Toward the end of that summer the new fence went up – almost six feet tall – which we called “The Great Wall of Ryan.” We joked that he should have left a ledge on the fence where we could continue to deliver baked goods to him.
He thought about it and he looked very serious, mentally kicking himself for not engineering such a ledge.
He shouldn’t have worried. The treats kept coming: over the fence, on his back step, during neighborhood bonfires and during work time when he and the neighbors constructed a giant two-car garage over the course of this past summer.
The treats didn’t take long to disappear, and within a few hours Heather usually returned our containers to the back door.
“So, you like to bake?” she asked me one day, to which I replied “Yes, I do enjoy it, but we can’t eat it all!”
She confessed she didn’t much like baking – except for bread. She liked to bake bread. That was the last conversation we had about her hobby, but I now know that we should have talked about it for hours.
Last weekend I was in bed with my second round of influenza when we heard the doorbell ring. The dog went crazy and Terry went to answer the door. He was gone for quite a while and when he returned he said it was Heather delivering Pickle Bread.
I had to investigate. I found a paper bag in the kitchen and when I opened it there was a beautiful loaf of bread that looked like it came out of a fancy French bakery. Wouldn’t you know it, it was still warm to the touch. We cut into that white bread with its small pieces of dill pickle tucked inside, added a little butter and the way I remember it is that I was healed immediately from any germs that I had in my body. That’s just how good that bread tasted.
I wasn’t very good at sharing this bread. I had it for snacks, dinner, breakfast and I am quite certain I could live on pickle bread for the rest of my life.
The next order of business is getting a shelf on that fence – one on each side. I have plans for those neighbors, and their bread.