Denise Adams

Our neighbors did a huge favor for us last week, and I wanted to thank them.

A card didn’t seem like a big-enough effort, so I thought about ways to express our gratitude to Arthur and Courtney for the many ways they look out for us.

It’s hard to find ways to thank people these days. When I was growing up, my Aunt Vicky baked banana bread to show her appreciation.

I can still remember the sight of the bread as it sat on the counter, wrapped snugly in aluminum foil, a promise of a sweet snack later that day.

These days, it’s hard to bake something for someone to reciprocate for a variety of reasons. First, health. Most baked goods are fattening, but that’s also why they’re so popular.

Then there’s the whole sugar debate. Articles put sugar right up there with Satan, and those with little children look at you as if you’re trying to poison their child if you dare offer them a chocolate-chip cookie or a Little Debbie cake.

So baking goodies is out of the question.

I thought about baking a casserole, but diet and sugar come up again. Plus, most people are trying to eat a healthy diet, and most of the recipes I have that transport well all have a ton of cheese and cream in them.

That’s why they taste good.

If I tried to make something healthy, I’m not sure how an asparagus zucchini soufflé would go over as an appreciation gift.

I thought about a gift bag, but non-perishables are often high in empty calories. Still, a gift bag with a DVD and some chips and salsa sounds like a great gift.

Until I remember that most people don’t have DVD players any more – they download their movies from Netflix or use a cable subscription.

I’ve given a board game and included bags of microwave popcorn, but the last time I checked, the fat and calorie content in Orville Redenbacher’s movie theater popcorn was higher than the bag of cookies I was considering, so I had to rethink that idea.

Plus most young people haven’t a clue what a board game is all about – they don’t know one can play solitaire with a real deck of cards.

Besides, I’d have to explain the use of a deck of cards.

There’s always candles, but I haven’t a clue who’s allergic to the smell of dandelions or lilac. Plus candles can be considered dangerous because people forget they’re burning them while they’re trying to convince themselves that air-popped popcorn does taste just as good as the kettle corn.

Checking off the list in my head, I could give serving dishes as a gift. A nice serving tray always comes in handy.

But with two young boys, I don’t think Courtney wants to wash and dry a chip and dip tray. Most of us just rip open the bag, take the lid off the jar of dip and everybody dives in.

There’s picture frames, but nobody prints out pictures any more. They’re all online or in our phones.

I could go with a bottle of wine, but I don’t think they like wine. Besides, I don’t really know the difference between a pinot noir and a cabernet, so I’d probably make a huge mistake when trying to find something suitable.

I think I saw a wine-of-the-month truck cruising our neighborhood, so I’d probably be giving a gift they’d already bought.

So I’m back to Square one. Looks like a hand-written thank-you card, delivered in person, is the final answer.

But that sweet banana bread is calling my name.

Now where’d I put that recipe from my Aunt Vicky?

Denise’s email is

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