May 30, 2024
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May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Do you remember Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood? He was such a lovely man, always put his shoes away. It’s a shame my boys never watched that show, or any of their friends, because none of them know where to put their shoes, but I digress. Mr. Rogers was a special individual who introduced us to all of the friendly and helpful people in his neighborhood. The mailman, the…wait, I cannot actually remember anyone else from his neighborhood, but I do remember the song. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?” Okay, maybe he did get a little carried away, but the point was everyone should be good neighbors. Friendly, cordial, civil, make eye contact, switch sides of the street when you see one coming down the block. You know, pretty much anything goes in our neighborhood.

We tend to come together when people die or are dying. I have said that before, and, unfortunately, still stand by it. All of the people on Facebook who expressed such concern for my dad, “What can we do?” And when I would say, “He would love it if you would visit,” Well, that is the last I heard from them. But, since I am always looking at the glass half full, it has (1) taught me to appreciate the folks that do visit and continue to visit him and (2) makes me more aware of the people that I should be visiting. No one likes to be alone. If you live near someone who is relatively homebound, go visit them on Shabbat or call during the week to see if they need anything. These things are really important and what make a neighborhood truly special. And you are teaching your children the importance of bikur cholim and all of those other good deeds we are paying so much tuition for them to learn about.

But the point of this post-Thanksgiving column was not to preach about all the things we should do but don’t, or that we do do, and still should, it is about my favorite place in Teaneck. Eli Texaco. Yes, I am serious. My favorite place in Teaneck does not sell food. A few Parshat Noach’s ago, you may recall the Snowmageddon we experienced at the end of October. It was a nightmare. Power was lost, snow took down trees everywhere and I lost my cellphone in husband #1’s car. We knew it was there, but we could not find it. We tried everything. There was a lot of yelling and screaming, but no cell phone. So I took the car to Eli Texaco. And Eli, himself, was able to magically retrieve the phone for me. I proposed marriage because I was so grateful…he probably thought the opposite, but that is for another time.

Jeff, the other man that works there, is one of the nicest people in the world. He knows exactly what I am going to ask him before I even ask him. And he enjoys kidding around with me about husband #1 and his aversion to oil changes…which has lead to Eli Texaco’s extremely high revenue in 2016…but that, too, is for another time.

The point is, my neighborhood is a better place with Eli and Jeff and Yoram in it. Are they overcharging me? I have no idea. They are just so warm and friendly and are always quick to want to help my car drive better, or, at all. They give me lectures about safety, and really make me feel that they care. And that is what a neighborhood should be about. Being surrounded by people who care about you, even if you are paying them to.

By Banji Latkin Ganchrow

 Banji Ganchrow has been a Teaneck resident for 18 years and has only alienated a few of her neighbors. The others ones seem to still tolerate her.

 

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