Friday, April 9, 2010

Small Town Elements: Good Neighbors

Woah woah woah, didn't she just write about a bad neighbor, you must be thinking. Well, let me tell you, far and away, small town neighbors are fantastic, and mine are no exception. Sure, we have had a few snags along the way, there always are, but in general, we have some great neighbors.

I especially love the neighbors on each side of us. To the one side, we have a young family, with two small boys. They are always happy, and they love to play outside. The more they get to know me, the more they talk my leg off! One night, the wife made up plates of pasta and brought them over to us. Another time she brought us cupcakes. All in the name of being a good neighbor. So they were overjoyed when I took the dog over there for the first time, just days after we got him. On the other side of us, we have a middle aged couple, and while we do not see them nearly as much, they are always friendly. I have often caught the husband mowing our front lawn in the spring or summer, and shoveling our sidewalk this past winter. That is just the kind of guy he is.

There are plenty of other neighbors that we are still getting to know, and many of them prefer to do good deeds unseen. Case in point. Monday, we had terrible winds. When I looked out back I noticed the winds had tossed all of the garbage cans around. Two of our three cans were lying in our yard, but the other one, well, who knows where it went. Today, I went to take a bag of trash out, and noticed a third can had appeared. It was not the can we previously had, but someone know that in the windy melee, they ended up with an extra, and we needed one, so, there it sits. All in the name of being a good neighbor.

Growing up, my small town was much more rural, so we did not know our neighbors as well as I know my neighbors now. Luckily, one neighbor was my grandmother, so we lucked out there. However, living right next door to us was an older man named John. He lived way back, off a long wooded drive, in a run down house. He drove a rusty car (not very well or safely), and was generally a crank. I remember being scared of him, because he would have loud fights with his other neighbor, who was his sister in law, usually about his late wife. After I grew up, my mom told me how John knocked on their door. He needed some help of some sort, I can not remember what, and my mom helped him. His home and general appearance were in total disarray, and his health was failing. Shortly after this, he went into a nursing home, his land was sold, and his house was torn down to make way for a beautiful new home to be built. I wish, in retrospect, we had known how to be a better neighbor to him. Perhaps he never wanted it, but I still wish I would have tried.