Even though the Clintons consist of the current Secretary of State (Hillary) and the former U.S. President (Bill), they are just normal folks, and pretty darn good neighbors, too, more involved in their chosen town more than anyone might have imagined, writes Peter Applebome in a piece in The New York Times. His feel-good (no: feel great! If you live near the Clintons!) story highlights many of the very neighborly things the Clintons have done in their adopted Chappaqua hometown in Westchester, New York, since moving there in 2000. Bill and Hill are just like us, except they sound far better to live near. Among the various things they do:
- Attend local Memorial Day ceremonies each year in Chappaqua: "Sure enough, there was Mrs. Clinton in a tan suit and jaunty straw hat marching down King Street on Monday with the local office holders, as her husband, the former president, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who lives in neighboring Mount Kisco, trailed a bit behind." (Such is Hillary's devotion that in cases of significant crisis, she's been known to take phone calls as she marched.)
- If you're Bill, go to Starbucks, where you order a decaf venti and tip; go to Lange's Little Store and Delicatessen and talk to everyone.
- Go to movies in Pleasantville.
- Dine at local restaurants; become appropriately mortified if neighbors pick up your tab.
- Groom your adorable dogs, Seamus (a Labrador retriever) and Tally (a toy poodle), at Wags and Whiskers and make sure that you look presentable with regular visits to Santa's Salon and Spa.
- Walk about town; be a great conversationalist; buy things.
- Be generally great neighbors. Also: get your photo taken when you visit local establishments and sign it and leave it as a momento.
- Do book signings of your books to help keep local book stores alive.
The very best part of Clinton neighborliness, however, happens around the holidays:
Every Christmas, Mr. Clinton hops in the black Secret Service sport utility vehicle that ferries him around town and delivers gifts, usually chocolates or brownies in a wooden box with the greeting “Happy holidays from the Clintons” to businesses they frequent. There is a short list, some merchants said, of other local customers who do the same.
All sounds rather dreamy and bucolic, right? When was the last time someone gave you baked goods? Alas, this perfect pleasant peace may not last forever, if the ominous second portion of the Times headline—"Clintons Make Great Neighbors, But for How Long?"—is any indication. The locals, or at least one of them, is fairly sanguine, however:
“They’ve been great neighbors, and it’s been fun to have them around,” Ms. Jacobson said. “But they didn’t ask me for permission to move in, and they won’t ask me for permission to leave.”
Clintons: The unicorns of neighbors. Fingers crossed they stay through Christmastime, Chappaquans. For the conviviality, of course...but mostly for the brownies.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.