So despite my gentle protestations, the Trimbles insisted on having a “welcome to the hood” party for me and my poor frightened son this weekend. After Vern’s attempts to recruit the boy into his evangelical cult, we were both kind of weirded out and pissed off as the day of the party dawned. Because of the party, I couldn’t work up the nerve to phone up the Trimbles the night before and tell Vern to back off on his recruitment efforts.

But we went anyway, and thankfully, the party was filled with normal people who seemed well aware that the Trimbles were freaks. There were many raised eyebrows and as one women left, she took me aside, told me she wanted to have us over for dinner and whispered: “We’re not church people!”

There were liberals who worked for non-profit anti-poverty organizations!!! A former NPR journalist who now works for a sustainable energy lobby group! A guy who works revising tax policy for low-income Americans at the Commerce Department! A huge extended family of Orthodox Jews who were pro-health-care reform! A 91-year-old African-American man and his wife who were born in Mississippi, survived segregation and talked about how much it meant to them to see Obama win the presidency as Vern twitched visibly. There was someone whose family lives in Alaska — a real Sarah Palin-despiser who had actually met her and reported she was even dumber and crazier in person than she was in public. Again with the Vern Twitch!

But the best part was this huge gaggle of Jewish little girls who were ooohing and aaaahing over my red open-toe pumps. Could they try them on, they wanted to know as their mothers chuckled? Did I have other shoes like that, they asked? What about stilettoes, they asked? Could they come over and look at all my shoes, they pleaded??

I agreed, and we marched across the street, me with about 15 girls ranging in age from four to 13, and they went nuts when they saw my shoes. I ended up giving away about six pairs because they were so cute, I couldn’t resist, and told them they could come over any time and play dress up with my shoes and outfits and jewellery.

All in all, a successful party. Now I just have to muster up the nerve to tell Vern to back off next time he asks my son to go to church again.