America was my second home. One of my most joyful memories was being caught in a huge snowfall. Yes this happens even in Virginia. The snow had reached some three feet up our patio doors.
Some of the people my father’s American colleagues had been on their way to visit us but had ended up abandoning their cars and trudging the rest of the way.
When they had arrived, they had played snowballs with us, managing to throw them over the roof of our house. Once the snow had subsided, it had been time to start digging each other out. First priority for everybody had been our neighbour from Ecuador who had been heavily pregnant at the time. I will always remember the men resting on their shovels and having a break for a Budweiser. I am not sure I have ever experienced quite such a close-knit community. I remember those times with great affection. One of our beautiful neighbours would periodically get irate at people allowing their dogs to use her lawn as a toilet. She would inform the owners, in a way we would hear from across the street, to stop the dog relieving itself (using slightly more colourful language) or there would be trouble. Many a dog and owner had skulked away unsatisfied.
We were a diverse little community but on the whole a happy and harmonious one.