Mighty neighborly | Moment's Notice

By Maria Montalvo | Sep 17, 2016

Does anyone remember that Bugs Bunny cartoon with the Red Ryder cowboy character?

Bugs is a carrot thief using the cover Masked Marauder, continually outwitting the good-natured but hapless Red Hot Ryder. At one point, Ryder even thanks Bugs Bunny for his good manners in the midst of a holdup by saying, “Well now, that’s mighty neighborly of you …”

For some reason, that phrase, “mighty neighborly” has always stuck with me.

Rather than an indication of Red Ryder’s inability to understand mockery, I focus on the simplicity and implicit gratitude of the statement. Naivety is a quality that I do not want to willingly give up – looking at the world through an unqualified lens, perception through innocence, and beauty in small things.

Along the same vein, the Winnie-the-Pooh stories by AA Milne tell of a group of furry neighbors in the Hundred Acre Wood. Pooh is also a character described as naïve but kind-hearted and giving.

He is friendly to everyone, even Eeyore, and creates a community among the animals based on companionship. And in the way only Pooh can, he reminds them, “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

Living in a town like Edmonds, we are a community determined to hold on to the small joys, sometimes despite the realities of modern life.

As small business owners in the Bowl, my husband and I are consistently humbled by the loyalty and support offered by fellow business people and local citizens.

A new restaurant recently opened in Edmonds, 190 Sunset, and on its first night, not only was it full of local residents there to support, but other local businesses, like Scratch Distillery, were prominently featured, and locals were hired as part of its team.

Not a week goes by that we do not see the same crew at our local dining ritual, Bar Dojo, and we also see Dojo’s sister businesses, Shooby Doo Catering and Salt & Iron, as part of countless charity events all over Edmonds.

Just last night, we went to a neighborhood party where multiple generations of Edmonds residents celebrated each other’s futures and recounted histories of kids growing up together, including a few of the melancholy days.

During the toast, tinged with sadness because a beloved daughter is moving away, the guest of honor remarked not on her own journey but on the faces in the room, who shared a common memory of appreciating the small but impactful moments in this Edmonds community.

In that instant, I thought of Pablo Neruda and my favorite collection of poems, “Odes to Common Things.” In it, he celebrates bread, tea, and even soap – the seemingly lesser things. Several years ago in this column, I attempted to pay homage to Neruda by writing an "Ode to a Hammock," my happy place.

Although I know that Neruda was likely assassinated by the then President-Dictator of Chile, Pinochet, I also have to remember that Neruda wrote his poetry in green ink as a symbol for hope.

Perhaps the “mighty neighborly” quote stays with me because of the kindly image at the end of the cartoon.

When Red Hot Ryder finally figures out that Bugs Bunny and the Masked Marauder are one in the same, Bugs pops up from his bunny hole holding a lit candle, and congratulates Ryder for figuring out the mystery by giving him a kiss on the cheek and blowing out the candle.


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