Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Nieghborhood goodwill

The annual poinsettia exchange took place today under inclement conditions. As usual, the event took place on the second Wednesday in December.  The day was chosen because Wednesday is the middle day of the week and the exchange takes place equidistant between two of Dorchester's more prominent neighborhoods:  Upham's Corner and Field's Corner. 

Since 1989 Elmer Washe rand Eunice Tubbs have been exchanging Christmas plants after they got in a nasty spat in the summer of that year.  Mr. Washer lives in Upham's Corner and he is proud of his surroundings, having been born and raised an apple core's throw from Edward Everett Square.  Ms. Tubbs had written a letter to the Dorchester Reporter that June belittling the hygienic standards of sidewalk maintenance in Upham's Corner and, while the letter never saw print, it did reach Mr. Washer's attention.  A poison penpal relationship was soon established with doleful mailmen trudging between Mr. Washer's address and Ms. Tubbs' three decker in Field's Corner. 

The whole exchange came to a head during the dog days of August when Mr. Tubbs, in a fit of pique, arranged for the FTD florist to deliver a bouquet of dead roses to Ms. Tubbs address.  A stony, stampless silence followed from Field's Corner until December when Ms. Tubbs employed the FTD florist to deliver a poinsettia to Mr. Washer.

In the spirit of brotherly love, Ms. Tubbs had broken the ice.  Now the two meet every year to exchange poinsettias, neighbor to neighbor, one part of Dorchester to another.  They meet face to face at an eatery near Meeting House hill, for the past few years at Mythos Pizza on Bowdoin Street.  It is always a cordial meeting and it is the only time these two one-time adversaries see each other.  They exchange pleasantries and wish each other happy holidays and good cheer for the upcoming new year.  Mr. Washer is a Christian Scientist.  Ms. Tubbs recently converted to Buddhism at the Park Street temple in Field's Corner after spending many years attending Saint Ambrose Catholic Church.

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