Mr Tangel was a tall, gangly man who chased me and my sisters around the front yard, asking for kisses. It was our silly game- he would chase us, we would scream, he'd gave up and we'd all laugh. Wait- we weren't like, teenagers. We were little. You got that, right?
I used to play with their dog, Snoopy, through the fence until I was given permission to go in the yard any time I wanted to play fetch with her. Snoopy appreciated it so much that she left a thank you gift for me one day.
Through the years our two families became more than neighbors. Mrs Tangel was with my mom the day my grandmother died. My mother was Nana's caregiver- tending to her in our back bedroom while Nana disappeared into cancer. The day Nana stopped breathing, Mrs Tangel came over and said a prayer with my mom. Then she offered support while they waited for my dad to come home.
My father and Mr Tangel had an ongoing friendly feud over the Mets vs The Yankees. We were a Yankee household all the way even though my Dad was the only one who actually watched the games. Still, I was impressed when I heard that Mrs. Tangel was a Lady Met! No, I still don't have a clue what that is.
Eventually I moved away and married. One year me, my parents and The Tangels happened to all be in Florida at the same time, albeit in different towns. Mom and I drove over to our neighbors' winter condo for lunch.
We got a tour of the place, finishing up on the balcony, sitting and sipping iced tea. As we looked out at the water, Mrs Tangel told us this story:
Mr and Mrs T had two social invitations one night. They got dressed up and went to the first party. Mrs Tangel had forgotten something at the condo, so they ran by to pick it up. They could hear music coming from a nearby restaurant and paused to listen. A momentary pause turned into a glass of wine on the balcony where they could see the band down below. One glass became two until they found themselves dancing alone together in the condo, all dressed up. Mrs T said they never made it to the second party.
I love that story. The Tangels were like an aunt and uncle to me. It was nice to know that they still had evenings where all they wanted to do was be alone and dance. And now that they're gone, I see them twirling in the heavens, Mrs Tangles' skirt swinging, their faces beaming, happy just to be together.