Like A Good Neighbor

Whatever happened to the days of borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor?  We have lived in the same house for the past 20+ years and not once has a neighbor come knocking on our door to borrow anything.  Me on the other hand…well I must be every person’s worst nightmare when it comes to being a neighbor.  I’ve borrowed eggs, sugar, spices, noodles, milk, hedge trimmers, power saws, and drill presses, just to name a few.  I always replace the food items and am sure to return the tools, but have never been asked to reciprocate.

I grew up in neighborhoods where neighbors were always borrowing things.  Some things were borrowed because one neighbor might not own that particular tool while other times it was because a neighbor was in dire need of something they didn’t have time to run up to the store for.  That was what neighbors did.  That is how neighbors acted.

My neighbors are great.  They have always been open to my borrowing and I have done my best to thank them by sharing my canning wares and surprising them with home-baked goods. Still, no one has ever knocked on my door and as far as I know nor have they knocked on anyone else’s door.

Am I the worst neighbor ever?  Or, is everyone else more prepared, less forgetful, or just down-right better?  It has bothered me to the point that I am leery to borrow anything.  One saving grace is that my neighbors are very caring and when they see me struggling to do something in the yard because I don’t have the right tool or the skill, they come right over offering help.  My husband and I do our best to stay alert to our neighbors needs as well and are always available to walk dogs, shovel snow, or even help assemble a new shed. This neighborliness has made living in the “suburbs” bareable, even enjoyable at times.

I remember a few years ago a snow storm left us with more than 10 inches of snow.  Driveways and sidewalks were shoveled but the land between our home and our next door neighbor was piled high with snow.  We have a medium sized dog and at the time she was just a year old.  Our neighbor John loved Bell.  He had alergies so did not have a dog of his own.  From the day we brought her home, John made it a point to call her over every time he saw her to give her treats.  Being Bell’s first winter, she was leery of venturing very far off the shoveled path in our backyard.  When John saw her standing next to our house staring at him, he called to her.  She took two steps into the snow then jumped back.  It was too deep for her.  John called her a few more times, but Bell was just too little to make the long trek to his house so she sat there and barked.

I watched as Bell stared at John and then as John walked into his garage.  A few moments later I heard a snowblower start up. Looking out the window across the yard John had his snowblower and was making a path straight across the grass from the side of his house all the way to where Bell was standing.  As he turned to widen the path on his way back to his house, Bell was on his heels.  Once back at his house, John gave Bell her treats and she returned home on the freshly cleaned path.  All winter John kept that path clear for her.  How did we get so lucky as to have a neighbor like that?

Whether or not my neighbors believe in borrowing, has yet to be determined, but they have been open to lending and going that extra mile for us, and for this I am Simply Grateful.

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