Know thy neighbors

Our oldest helping the neighbor rake leaves

I have many childhood memories of the people in my neighborhood. I could always count on an ice cream sandwich from the lady down the street when I rode my big wheel by. The elderly woman around the corner had the most magical screened in back porch that overflowed with sea shells she brought back from her trips. And if you were very well behaved she even let you have one. I will never forget the woman next door who we swore was a witch and would turn you into a toad. Or the man on the other side who was so mean to us that one winter my brother and I flung dog poo on his roof. I was a kid, and I know that was wrong in retrospect, but he was very mean!

Winter fun with “Uncle” Tim

Where ever I have lived, I have known my neighbors. Not just their faces or names, but them. We have celebrated birthdays and holidays with our neighbors. We have been blessed to be surrounded by interesting individuals. Yes, there have been a few in my life that were less then nice, but for the most part, I am happy I know my neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors? I mean do you really know them? There is something to be said for opening up and forming bonds with strangers. Those people who live next door or down the street can become a second family at times. We have neighbors who were “grandparents” to our son and even thought hey have moved away, they never forget a birthday or Christmas. There have been quit a few times I am glad I know my neighbors… and not just for the great memories we have had but for the tough times they have been there for us.

Christmas dinner with
neighbors and friends

An example of this was when our first son was stillborn. I had made a memorial garden around a tree in our backyard in his honor. The utility company was coming through and had marked the tree as needing to be trimmed. I left a note on the tree explain why it was very important that they be careful. They were not. As I was on my hands and knees, with tears streaming down my face attempting to remove left limbs and save the trampled plants, a neighbor knelt beside me. She had seen me, knew what the garden meant to me and had just came to me. She said nothing, just set to work.

Camping with neighbors, like we
don’t see them enough!

Another time, we had a gas leak in the deep of winter. It was below zero and we had to vacate the house. Another neighbor gladly took us in for the day and provided us with lunch. When my husband’s car broke down, one of our neighbors helped fix it, while another lent her car to him to get to work since she car pooled. When our front window got broke another neighbor not only got us replacement glass at a great price but taught us how to install it.

I could go on and on with examples but what I am trying to point out is that is good to know your neighbors, both in good and bad times. So the next time you see that old man who walks past your house everyday in the summer, say hello. The next time you grill out, invite the neighbors. You never know, you may just find a kindred spirit, a new best friend, or a hand when you are down.

16 thoughts on “Know thy neighbors

  1. I love this post because I grew up where our neighbors were parents to all of us in the neighborhood. Hard to get away with anything! We also have many good friends that began as neighbors. It's good to have that community feeling. Great topic!

  2. Yes! That is the only reason I keep dragging my feet when moving comes up. Our children call our neighbors Aunt, and one of them Papa Russ. We do cook outs, block parties and just sit on a nice warm evening. Thanks Mindie for sharing, and bringing back a lot of fond memories.

  3. This is beautiful. Neighbors are not valued as much as they should be. Thank you for sharing on the Saturday Round Up!!

  4. My neighbors are more family than my actual family. We have a Saturday night tradition. We have a converted barn that is houses the whole neighborhood and anybody who wants to come. Every Saturday, several years running, everybody brings what is in season, whether it is deer, catfish, or veggies from the summer garden. The rule is, show up, bring something to share, and have fun! In the country, neighbors are considered anybody in a 20 mile radius! We also pitch in for chores, whether it is building a barn, putting on a deck, or planting potatoes!

  5. This makes me wish we knew our neighbors better! We have tried, but I guess some people move to the "country" for more of the quiet than the community?

  6. Just happened upon this post – we live on a very short street and every year we bring goodies to our neighbors at Christmas (just as I had grown up doing). The first year many of them looked at us like we were crazy, but now they expect it. Having kids helped, they are good icebreakers. And even if they think we are nuts, it makes us all a little closer. We are outside ALL the time in the summer, so I'm sure they know plenty about us no matter how much or how little we talk. 😉

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