I googled a bit beforehand, and found that the closest synagogue to here was in a familiar neighborhood. So last night I grabbed my printed directions and headed to my car.
As is my wont, I planned for traffic and getting lost, and so I arrived about 20 minutes early to evening minyan. I decided to drive around a bit. I went past the synagogue and almost missed the turnoff to the right; it came up much sooner than I expected. One more turn and I was outside the house my dad lived in for most of my formative years.
The house really looked different. It looked smaller, though that was probably just me forgetting what it looked like from the perspective of someone who was much shorter and didn't drive. Though the fencing around the back yard was definitely new; that certainly would've gotten in the way of football games with the neighborhood boys.
One thing that was definitely not new, though, was Mrs. H gardening in front of the house next door. The H family was the first to move in when the development was built years ago, and they're probably one of the few original ones to still be there. Her son B was one of my best friends as an adolescent; we watched every single Eagles game together, over the phone if we couldn't do it in person. I hadn't talked to him in probably eight years. I smiled at the memory and drove away.
And then turned around and drove back. I parked, and called out to Mrs. H. She definitely didn't recognize me at first, and then gasped. She took me inside, and B was home! He had just finished his bar exam, and was home recuperating before heading off to his new job in New York. My timing was perfect, he told me, since the Eagles' preseason game was about to start. I told him that I don't really follow the preseason anymore, and that I had to leave and run errands anyway, but that we should definitely catch a game together soon. I said goodbye to him, to his sister who was in the middle of packing for college (10 years old when I last saw her), and to Mrs. H, and I headed back to my car to go to minyan.