Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
I have been living here in the Bay Park Apartments for 8 1/2 years now. I have seen people come and people go, but for the past year the right mix of neighbors have come together and become great friends. On most evenings, unless we have an unusually cold or rainy night, someone can be found to hang out with in the courtyard. And on a sunny day the barbeques are fired up, and everyone brings to the table what they have and it's potluck time. Might be Mexican, Puerto Rican, German - who cares, as long as it's tasty! My girlfriends and I like to take walks up the hills around here or go out for a day of shopping. Some days it's game time, and we'll play dominos, pinochle, backgammon, cribbage. The kids run around outside, play baseball out back in the alley, or ride bikes. It does get a bit noisy sometimes but that's the nature of where we live. The apartments are right on Morena Boulevard which is a very busy street where people tend to drive way too fast, and then we have the train tracks and the 5 freeway. We have taken camping trips to the La Jolla Indian Reservations, trips to concerts, the fair, to the bar to play pool. One neighbor was even kind enough to take us all out for Sunday brunch at the 94th Aero Squadron when he got a short-lived, but highly paid construction job. Now unfortunately when you know people as well as we all know each other, there is always some drama going down, but it's usually over pretty quickly and everyone is always willing to forget and forgive! And when someone does get a bit out of hand, the others are there to keep him or her in check. I am definitely so grateful to all these neighbors that I call my friends. They were all generous enough to attend my son's Christmas band concert at Clairemont High School, and he was thrilled to have so many friends come and showing their support. We have thrown many birthday parties here and there are more to come. So I just want to say Lisa, Dave, Roy, Crystal, Charrol, Shepherd, Lorrie, Glenn, Mike, Sam and Charlotte - thank you all for being my neighbors and my friends. And I love the kids, Andrew, Sophia, Justin and Esperanza. I know this won't last forever but for now this is Paradise to me.