It’s the little things that count… For Mr. Rogers it was the little children of all nationalities, tall ones, short ones, children who were born without blemish and those who were born with disabilities of all kinds. These are the children that were important to Fred Rogers.
In the ’60s, PBS’ TV program, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was about all of the above.
“Won’t you be my neighbor?” was one of Fred Rogers most favorite questions along with “You don’t set out to be rich or famous, you set out to be helpful, look for the Helpers,” And so important, Mr. Rogers said… “I like you, just the way you are.” What kind of neighbors are we?
My neighborhood here in Ben Lomond, I liken to Fred Rogers’ neighborhood. I call my neighborhood “Mike Boynton’s Neighborhood.” Mike, along with his wife Heather, live just across the street from my home. Their house is a two-story country style house, with its covered front porch, a weathered chair, and potted plants tucked everywhere there is space. Mike and Heather also have a big loveable dog named Pfeiffer, named for the Big Sur State Park, where each summer the Boynton clan gather for 10 days of camping.
My Hubby and I moved here sixteen years ago when five of the Boynton’s six kids were still living at home. Over those past years we watched the kids grow, from kindergarten through high school, marriage, and now grandchildren. I firmly believe that with six children, there will always be grandchildren of one age or another running in and out of that big, busy household. And Mike and Heather, well, they love it.
Mike and Heather grew up here in the San Lorenzo Valley. Mike’s papa was the Zayante fire chief, and with several brothers and sisters, everyone in the Valley knows the Boynton family.
Mike’s yard is filled with kid’s toys and with flowers which he raises from seeds…old fashioned flowers… bachelor buttons, sweet peas, hollyhocks, sunflowers and zinnias… all the kinds our grandparents grew. Flowers that make you think of the old days when we were young and innocent children. And through Mike’s flowers, the grandkids and Pfeiffer run and play… Mike simply shakes his head patiently where I would be screaming.
Mike and Heather keep their eyes on me as well. If I am on a ladder or lifting anything heavy, Mike admonishes me. “Call me, it’s so easy for me,” Mike will say. Whatever I need they are there for me.
During these past three difficult months I have not needed to leave my house, Heather has shopped for me; whatever I have needed, Heather was there.
Heather and I share… We share spices, sugar, eggs, flour, and wine for a recipe Heather is making and doesn’t have. Onions, celery, you name it, if we are out of it, we have each other to rely on. We share food from new recipes we have made, even flowers from our gardens… All given freely which leaves each of us with that good neighborly feeling at the end of the day.
My one thing I do to thank Mike for his help is to bake cinnamon rolls, which Mike loves… Hot from the oven, his smile is my reward. That’s it, that is all Mike will allow me to do.
Each evening at 5 p.m. (my Martini time), Pfeiffer sits by the fence waiting for me to bring her dog treat and the newspaper for Mike (we share). We lean on the fence and catch up with the happenings of the day. How special this part of the day has become for me. Other neighbor’s walking by will stop and visit as well… There are times there will be neighbors with their kids and dogs, so many in fact, cars will need to slow down and often will end up joining in as well.
With Father’s Day nearing, I know Mike’s yard will be filled with barking dogs, kids yelling and laughing, and Love… Soo much Love. After all, I live in Mike Boynton’s neighborhood.
Mr. Rogers said, “I have always wanted to have a nice neighbor just like you. You don’t set out to be rich or famous, you set out to be helpful. ”
Won’t you be our Neighbor?
Mike Boynton’s Cinnamon Rolls (a take on Cinna*Bons).
Can be assembled and baked the following day.
1 cup milk warmed
2 eggs room temp.
1/3 cup soft butter
4-4 ½ cup bread flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup gran. sugar
1 package active dry yeast
Combine 2 cups flour and yeast in large mixing bowl
In a saucepan add milk, butter, sugar, salt and heat to 120-130 deg.
Add to flour mixture along with eggs and with mixer running, add remaining flour.
Mix for 7-10 min. until dough is smooth and elastic. In an oiled bowl place dough and cover. Rest for about 15 min.
1 cup brown sugar packed
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
½ cup softened butter
Roll out dough into 18x21-inch rectangle. Spread butter on the dough and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side roll dough into an 18 in. log. Cut into 12 even rolls. Place in greased 9x13 in. pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until nearly doubled, 1 hour. Bake in preheated 400 deg. 15 min.
Frost with 4 ounces softened cream cheese, ¼ cup softened butter, 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and pinch of salt.