The road ends, but the journey continues...

Neighborly Meals

A little over two weeks ago, our neighbor across the street tested positive for you-know-what.

Most are renters on this block* – us in tiny houses, others in an apartment complex, one door down from both of our houses. There is much coming and going noted as there are no garages to hide the ins and outs of any vehicle activity.

Or lack thereof.

Hubby’s the one who realized these neighbors, who both work and have a family of two young children, had become strangely silent. Their two vehicles hadn’t twitched a tire for quite awhile.

We quickly conferred and decided a neighborly check-in was more than appropriate.

Kireem is a special education teacher – close contact with students is just part of the very nature of his job – hence the inevitable occurred. He was thus in quarantine with the rest of the household placed in self-isolation.

Speaking through our masks, a decent distance from their doorway, we offered our services as neighbors – asking Michele if we could do errands for them but especially offering our specialty of making meals. When asked if she wanted a meal that evening or the next, Michele piped up and said, “Yes, please, tonight!”

Aside from the seriousness of the reasons why I got to make a meal for them, it felt good to be ‘hands on’ helping out others in these isolating times. This is what I do best in such circumstances.

That night’s quickly thrown together dinner menu?

My basic Rigatoni with Spicy-Sweet Meat Sauce**, my normal ‘house salad’ and a batch of my Loaded Brownies (minus one ingredient).

Next week when we delivered another meal, 4 year old Aminah was by her mom’s side. What a delight to see Aminah’s excitement over what was for dinner that evening!

That night’s menu?

Our family’s version of Cassoulet** (Cassoulet Italiene) with a loaf of Ma’s Hardcrust Bread, a Mandarin Orange salad, and plenty of freshly grated cheeses, Italian peppers, a stick of butter and other condiments to make it extra special. Oh and a huge loaf of my middle daughter’s Choco-nut Banana Bread for either dessert, breakfast the next morning or both.

And this story has a happy ending: as of a few days ago, I’m relieved to report that Kireem and family are out and about – completely COVID- free.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 118:1

*Our block is the dividing line between renters and homeowners – on the fringe of the ‘true’ neighborhood.

** Every family has their own versions of these basic, hearty dishes – cooked with (he)art and by (he)art!


  1. notjustagranny

    That is one aspect of American life that has always impressed me…neighbourliness. here in the UK they’re a bit more standoffish, but the pandemic has brought out the ‘blitz’ spirit and folks have helped their neighbours and actually spoken to them. Something that has been lost over the years. You’re a good neighbour, I’m glad they’re all well

    • laura bruno lilly

      How nice of you to say! I have to add a personal caveat – there’s a fine line between neighborliness and nosiness! I’m very careful in that regard.
      Stay safe.

      • notjustagranny

        Oh yes I know just what mean….but you seem to have the right balance. You too, stay safe

  2. Annika Perry

    Laura, what a kind gesture and the meals you cooked look amazing and The bread must be so tasty with the meal! This really is a time of neighbours pulling together and we haven’t spoken to so many people in our village as we have this last year … light even in the darkest of times. I’m glad your neighbours are now all well … the home cooked meals playing their part! Take care and keep safe! Xx

    • laura bruno lilly

      I thought you’d enjoy the meal descriptions – as I seem to remember your household going gang-busters on creating culinary treats through out this pandemic.
      May the Light shine brightly within your home and warm you & your family with peace.
      Stay safe – (hugs from far away)

      • Annika Perry

        ?? How sweet of your to remember about our cooking/baking spree! I’m laughing at the phrase ‘gang-busters’ – probably sums it up!

  3. merrildsmith

    How kind and thoughtful to provide meals to your sick neighbors! I’m sure they appreciated it. I’m glad they’ve recovered. It’s very scary. My niece is waiting for her test results, and annoyed since she’s been so careful.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Well that’s part of it, too. All who test positive are not the careless among us nor the ‘unbelieving’ (which is still a mystery beyond my understanding of how that idea could possibly fly in this 21st century) among us…and I really get that your niece could be annoyed. I would be too!!!! I hope she fares well.
      Thank you for stopping by, Merril.

  4. zippyquilts

    How nice that you were able to provide meals! Two of my buddies have been in trouble, one diagnosed with COVID (she recovered quickly) and the other now quarantined with her husband because he was potentially exposed. Maybe some of the fools will recognize that it’s real when there are enough stories like this. Oops, that was uncharitable. Whatever. Anyway, what I started out to say is that my friends are many miles away so I didn’t get to “do anything” except check in with them.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh, while I’m so sorry about your friends having to deal with COVID – I’m almost more distressed at your inability to literally ‘be there’ for them…as it is the status quo of how caring for sick loved ones is becoming. Sigh.
      However, ‘checking in with them’ is a big thing. Don’t discount that!
      (Carolina hugs to a Carolina honey)

  5. candidkay

    Oh, you certainly were the Lord’s hands in this instance! And it sounds like your kindness was sorely needed and appreciated. Those meals sound lovely! And isn’t it funny how nothing says love in a time of need like food . . .

    • laura bruno lilly

      Kind of you to say…thank you for stopping by.

  6. tierneycreates

    What a wonderful neighbor you are!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Awww, shucks!

  7. Marie A Bailey

    Sharing or giving home-made meals is such a generous act, a wonderful source of comfort to the giver and receiver. Bless you for your kindness ❤️

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sharing/giving is caring in action – it feels great to be the conduit of such action!
      Thank you for the blessings, Marie.

  8. marissthequilter

    What a heart warming, mouth watering post.

    • laura bruno lilly

      What a visual! HA!

  9. cedar51

    Special hugs to you for making an isolated family feel wanted – and good to hear the “infected person” has recovered…I guess though still a little shaken by what occurred.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I can imagine that feeling of vulnerability and worry is not fading anytime soon.
      Thanks for those hugs, Catherine – I’d certainly hand-deliver some homemade treat to your doorstep, too! Now if only I could catch a COVID-free flight out to New Zealand?!!

  10. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    Laura, That sounds like your meals were well-received! Such a nice, neighborly gesture! <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Cheryl!

  11. susiesopinions

    Being a good neighbor makes you feel great. So pleased they are over it

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, you’re so right on that, Susie.

  12. rl2b2017

    Hi Laura! I knew you were a good egg, so this cooking for your neighbors doesn’t surprise one single bit. That was so nice of you two to a) notice that their cars hadn’t moved, b) reached out to see if they needed anything, and c) cooked some meals for them. This makes my heart sing and I’m so pleased to count you among my friends and blessings. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      I can hear your (he)art’s song all the way down here!
      Would love to cook up a little something for your brood!

  13. Janis @

    What a kind gesture! A lot of people say things like “let me know if you need anything” and then never get a request and think they’ve done enough. You actually offered a concrete way you could help, and then came through. I’m glad your neighbors are feeling better.

  14. Andy

    I’m glad that they are now out and about again. And I bet they’ve put weight on too! ?
    I can imagine you being that kind of neighbour ?

    • laura bruno lilly

      An astute surmise – about the gaining of weight!

  15. Jane's Heartsong

    We are all blessed as we bless others. You are a good neighbour.

    • laura bruno lilly

      If you lived closer, I’d be leaving you surprise fairy packages of Twizzlers on your porch!

  16. Lavinia Ross

    That was a wonderful thing to do for your neighbors, Laura. I am glad your neighbors are well and uot of isolation. 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for saying, Lavinia.
      It’s a special day when we get to see the family taking their after-dinner-walk.

  17. Ally Bean

    Your kindness and cooking skills are amazing. What a delicious thing for you to do.

    • laura bruno lilly

      And it was such fun, too!

  18. deborahbrasket

    What a wonderful post to read today when I am already so filled with joy at the election’s outcome. You truly are an example to follow, dear friend.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Mangia! Mangia!

  19. Laura

    What a super thing to do, Laura! When I lived in town, my neighbors and us would do for each other in lots of little ways. It was good to know them! I would always bake homemade loaves of bread every time a new neighbor moved in. One time, we had young boys living next door, and I noticed that they were setting up a small table in their yard…made all pretty with a tablecloth. I knew this was special, so I sent over a vase of flowers for their centerpiece. It is the little things, ya know. Turns out that they were entertaining parents. One of the boys was in high school, the other boy had a job (they lived alone).

    • laura bruno lilly

      It *is* the little things! Those boys needed those flowers for something more than just a centerpiece – and you stepped in gracefully!

  20. petespringerauthor

    There are few good things that come out of a pandemic, but gestures such as yours remind us of the basic human decency that exists between friends, neighbors, and even strangers.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sweet of you to say, Pete. I agree, sometimes all we need is an opportunity to share and care…

  21. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    You are living by example. This is how we will get our country on track. Thank you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Your comment touches me deeply – we all need to know we make a difference. Thank you, Chela.

  22. Jill Weatherholt

    How kind of you to do the neighborly check-in, Laura. I’m glad to know the family is now well. My mouth is watering over the chocolate bundt cake.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yeah, the best part of all of that is seeing them ‘out and about’ again!

  23. L. Marie

    Oh Laura, I love this! If I can, I will add a link to this post to the post I just scheduled for tomorrow. I was discouraged when I wrote it. This post is so encouraging.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, I’d love for you to link it up with your post – I’m sympatico with your ‘brand’ 🙂
      Sooooo glad this helped make your day more bright – there are better days ahead my dear little sis.

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