Nothing fancy at housing complex, but plenty of Christmas spirit
The residents of Maple Grove like the holidays. They tend to wave more often and say hi more often, and Deborah Veitch says it’s because the decorations around the Farmington apartment complex help create holiday spirit.
That’s probably true, but it isn’t because the displays are elaborate or expensive.
Plastic cut-outs of Frosty the Snowman and Santa are planted outside in the snow. Limp strands of plastic garland drape inside windows dotted with giant snowflakes near artificial poinsettias. Some residents have lights up.
There are no dazzling lit wonders or fancy reindeer hitched to a life-like sleigh on the rooftops.
There is, however, a palpable sense of community lacking in countless other places. That isn’t a holiday thing: It’s like that at Maple Grove most of the time, says Veitch, a 47-year-old divorcee who has two daughters and works at the Ravenwood Golf Club.
Eighty-year-olds and small children, disabled people and those who’ve survived difficult circumstances and have little disposable income — they look out for one another, show respect and take pride in their neatly groomed surroundings.
In short, they do the best they can with what they’ve got.
After all, they feel fortunate to live in Maple Grove, which is off Mertensia Road. There’s always a waiting list for would-be tenants and, right now, it has 25 names on it, said manager Dave Emler.
Maple Grove is federally subsidized housing for low- and middle-income people. It was built in 1987 and is part of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. For five straight years, it has received the highest acclaim awarded by the program, a superior rating.
It’s based on aesthetics, maintenance, residents’ satisfaction, management and overall condition, Emler said.
There are 36 one- and two-bedroom units, seven of which are accessible to the disabled and two more that are fully equipped for them.
“It’s a good mix of people,” Emler said.
Tony Fanizzi is one of them. He’s a retired toy salesman with an authentic spaghetti sauce recipe. He makes batches of it for fun and doles it out to his neighbors and kinfolk, but it never seems to be enough because they always want more. Veitch is one of the guilty.
She herself has a way with Christmas cookies. She says she has a secret ingredient. Fanizzi guessed incorrectly that is was sugar. No, she said, it’s maple syrup, although you’d never know it.
She will probably offer guests something special for Easter, too, and the Fourth of July and Halloween and Thanksgiving. And she and her neighbors will decorate accordingly. She has a real live, plump, little pet bunny named Bandit that makes Easter even more fun.
Tony, well, he’ll still be happily cranking out the spaghetti sauce no matter what the occasion. And Veitch will shamelessly ask for more.