My neighbor, Rita, was a strange cheapskate. She would mow her lawn in the middle of the night with a halogen spot-light on her helmet. When she raised money for Unicef, she blew it all on a new sofa made of recycled popcorn. It squeaked. She still has it and I won’t sit there. Once she lied about sponsoring one of those kids in Africa, you know, the Sally Struthers commercials. I wouldn’t normally care, but I know it’s not true.

Last Friday, Becky Cardoza hosted a pot-luck party, which I thought was super. Kick off the summer, send the kids bowling or something. I arrived early, brought a dime bag and an outrageous bong shaped like a penis. Becky and I caught a buzz in her gardening shed while her husband, Stu, dropped the kids at the movies. We giggled about Rita’s latest: she’d become an Mary Kay rep. You wouldn’t catch us wearing that crap.

Lots of folks brought classy stuff. The Smithsons arrived with steamed clams. And Herb, our golf pro at Whispering Winds, raffled free lessons. I liked flirting with him, well, until he’d had more than one beer. Then he got a little too touchy-feely. Rita found the entire pot-luck idea insulting. So she arrived with a plastic party tray: one dozen perfectly carved melon balls.

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