Monday Musings – Random Kindness – Raggmunk

free public domain image

free public domain image

I am always amazed and delighted at random acts of kindness. Last night was no different. The neighbors to our right rarely speak except an occasional “hey hey” and a throwing up of their hand. The neighbors across the way always never visit but often speak, shout, and in the fall, came over and just on the spur of the moment, helped us rake our yard. We are down a short, sparsely populated road with a cul-de-sac and often, except for the random passing each other in the car or seeing someone outside as one is walking, we are all self-contained units.

I was trying to decide what to fix for dinner last night. I was at that stage of being in a food rut. There was a knock on the door and the tall, blonde male neighbor from next door stood there when I opened the door. We both smiled and I invited him in. He said his usual “hey hey” but thrust a warm, disposable container into my hands. “Enjoy” and left. I called “thank you!” after him and he threw up his hand.

I opened the foil and there, in all its amazing looking, incredible smelling glory was something that looked good to eat but about what it was, I was clueless. I put it on the kitchen table and called my husband. He came, looked, sniffed, whistled and then pulled a small piece of paper from the foil I had missed. “This is raggmunk. It is Swedish. Enjoy.” and signed. By the last name, after 14 years, I found out my neighbors are Swedish.

I also found out this is one awesome dish! I immediately googled for the recipe. I don’t know where they obtained the ligonberries (I think they had been frozen fresh) but we scarfed it up. It made me glad I always share my summer tomatoes with them. Fourteen years and several bushels of tomatoes later, I find out my neighbors’ last name, that they are Swedish, and that in spite of their reticence, they are kind. This summer, I think I will knock on their door, say “hey hey” and hand them a disposable container of my father’s recipe of fresh peach cobbler, throw up my hand and head home.

We all have different neighbors, we all are different types of neighbors. Which kind are you?

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wolfsrosebud
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 16:18:21

    what a lovely story and act of love… this really does look good… even before I read the story


  2. SirenaTales
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 17:33:13

    Thanks for the yummy and heartwarming piece, Kanzen. Looks as if it’s another case of “what goes around comes around” and that all of your generosity with cooking, baking, writing, mentoring is comin’ right back atcha! Yahoo! xoxo


  3. M-R
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 18:36:48

    Wonderful story, Kanzen – cheers me up no end ! D’you think that maybe their English is something they’re not confident with ?
    Anyway, I look forward to more stories of these delightful if slightly distant neighbours of yours.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 18, 2015 @ 19:37:54

      The few times I’ve heard them speak, they have almost no accent and both are extremely well educated. I’m guessing they just aren’t very warm and fuzzy folk which is fine. Being nice without being nosy is a good thing. They have a son who is extremely physically and mentally challenged. He was at home until he became young adult and very strong. He also began having extremely bad and frequent seizures so he is in a group home now (I had this from the elderly neighbors across the street from them. He was lonely and his wife had just been diagnosed with Alheimers. I hugged him when he cried. She still waves if she is outside). He was a sweet kid. He loved my husband’s dog and would sit in the grass like he was a dog and they’d play with each other. I don’t think they are wanting to up the friendliness, just….random impulse and it was most appreciated.


      • M-R
        Mar 18, 2015 @ 20:41:32

        That’s terribly sad … I can only think that the wife’s onset of Alzheimer’s might be showing some kind of link to the boy’s impairment; but on the other hand, lots of people with Alzheimer’s have had children without problems. Such a dreadful condition … But anyway, I’m glad that contact was made.


        • kanzensakura
          Mar 18, 2015 @ 20:56:36

          I’m glad he felt he could ask for a hug. I wrote it confusingly MR. It’s the neighbors across from my Swedish neighbors with the wife with Alzheimers. The Swedish neighbors with the son now in group home. But I like the neighborhood. Not everybody in everybody’s business but still kindness there. My mother-in-law always has something to say about people’s yards, a piece of trash in a ditch, the color of the house…whenever she comes to visit us. Just yangyangyang. I told her we were all too busy living our lives than to pull out petty observances. whew! She is from one of the small nosy towns and has never learned that it is better to be kind than to be nosy.


  4. Bernice
    Mar 18, 2015 @ 19:22:03

    What a great story!! I wonder if they speak much English.


  5. Bastet
    Mar 19, 2015 @ 01:55:46

    An excellent story! I enjoyed this very much and of course my mind went off speculating: Maybe they don’t speak English … Maybe they’re shy … Maybe maybe maybe … whatever the reason my conclusion is you don’t need a lot of gab to be kind! 🙂


  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Mar 19, 2015 @ 03:27:42

    Ah.. I think you have captured the essence of Swedish.. we are often reserved (or even shy) Many Swedes find the openness in the US a little strange at first. I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.. As for Raggmunk, it is one of my favorite things to eat.. usually I would have it with fried pork and lingonberryjam, (which should be available at IKEA at least)… Many Lunch places serve it on Tuesdays for some reason…


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 19, 2015 @ 10:46:32

      We Americans can be a bit…..large at first and seem blustery. It was suggested they were reticent because of language but I do not think that is the case – their few words have no accent and are perfect. I think it is just their reserved nature. I can respect that. They never came off as haughty or unfriendly, just self-contained. My husband and I are like that but with a Southern accent 😊. I know one thing, raggmunk is going to become a regular. I will order the ligonberry jam online as the nearest Ikea is two hours away. Where I grew up in NC, Tuesday always seemed to be meatloaf day – so who knows? Leftovers from Sunday dinner gone? Want something easy? I don’t know but I do know it is a wonderful dish and we ate like crazy people. I know they visit people in Minnesota where there are many Swedish folk and they could have gotten the ligonberries there and froze. These weren’t jam, they were fresh and to die for. I visited Stockholm once, years ago, and found the same reserved nature. Not unfriendly, just….reserved. I thought the Brits were reserved but….anyway, it is good to know that miles apart, we can still appreciate the same good food.


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