Good Neighbors

Some people consider good things that happen to us in life as blessings.  I am blessed with good neighbors. The house that I live in is a twin which means that I share a wall with the people next door.  Thirty some years ago, my family and I moved into this eight room brick twin with a basement and an attic.  Our son, as sons are wont to do, moved out then in on one or two occasions.  My husband, as husbands sometimes do, predeceased me nearly two years ago.  My son, who moved in to help take care of my husband during his illness, moved out three months ago.  As a result, I live alone in a big house that shares a wall with one of my neighbors.

Because none of the members of my household ever have been able to fix leaky faucets, or to shovel snow, we have always been willing to pay for even the small, but essential serves that we needed. By the grace of God and the kindness of others, we muddled through the years somewhat dependent on our good neighbors.  As a widow, I am humbly grateful for their continued, in fact, heightened kindnesses. 

This holiday season, perhaps because of recent losses of close family members, and of dear friends, I am more conscious of and more appreciative of the families that live on either side of me.  During our holiday exchange of small gifts, both sets of neighboring families reminded me that if I ever needed anything, they were available.  Without my asking, my sidewalk and my car were relieved of the snow that covered our street recently.  In addition, the neighbor on the other side of my drive invited me to dinner on New Year’s Day.

This neighbor, a retired teacher, drives to her invalid father’s house at seven in the morning at least four times a week to care for him.  Yet, on New Year’s Day she prepared a wonderful buffet for her married children and several nieces, spouses and children.  She also included her widowed neighbor, me.  Surly, genuine kindness and caring for others is still alive in the Twenty-first Century.

The neighbor who invited me to share dinner on New Year’s is of the same ethnic origin as me.  Unlike my family which is somewhat scattered and which identifies more with what it thinks and what it does, her family, college educated from the 2nd through the 4th generation, still identifies with those who nurture and sustain it.  Members gather for all of the holidays, sometimes hiring halls to accommodate up to the 5th generation.  Every family brings to the gathering the traditional dish with which it has the best recipe.  Instead of discussing the latest political or cultural topic, to which my family is prone, my neighbor’s family bounces babies and/or plays multigenerational games like “Uno”.  If there is room, they dance or go outside to play football.  It is the kind of family I remember from my youth, large, warm and loving. May the members continue to be a blessing to each other and to all with whom they interact.

Some people consider good things that happen to us in life as blessings.  I am blessed with good neighbors. The house that I live in is a twin which means that I share a wall with the people next door.  Thirty some years ago, my family and I moved into this eight room brick twin with a basement and an attic.  Our son, as sons are wont to do, moved out then in on one or two occasions.  My husband, as husbands sometimes do, predeceased me nearly two years ago.  My son, who moved in to help take care of my husband during his illness, moved out three months ago.  As a result, I live alone in a big house that shares a wall with one of my neighbors.

Because none of the members of my household ever have been able to fix leaky faucets, or to shovel snow, we have always been willing to pay for even the small, but essential serves that we needed. By the grace of God and the kindness of others, we muddled through the years somewhat dependent on our good neighbors.  As a widow, I am humbly grateful for their continued, in fact, heightened kindnesses. 

This holiday season, perhaps because of recent losses of close family members, and of dear friends, I am more conscious of and more appreciative of the families that live on either side of me.  During our holiday exchange of small gifts, both sets of neighboring families reminded me that if I ever needed anything, they were available.  Without my asking, my sidewalk and my car were relieved of the snow that covered our street recently.  In addition, the neighbor on the other side of my drive invited me to dinner on New Year’s Day.

This neighbor, a retired teacher, drives to her invalid father’s house at seven in the morning at least four times a week to care for him.  Yet, on New Year’s Day she prepared a wonderful buffet for her married children and several nieces, spouses and children.  She also included her widowed neighbor, me.  Surly, genuine kindness and caring for others is still alive in the Twenty-first Century.

The neighbor who invited me to share dinner on New Year’s is of the same ethnic origin as me.  Unlike my family which is somewhat scattered and which identifies more with what it thinks and what it does, her family, college educated from the 2nd through the 4th generation, still identifies with those who nurture and sustain it.  Members gather for all of the holidays, sometimes hiring halls to accommodate up to the 5th generation.  Every family brings to the gathering the traditional dish with which it has the best recipe.  Instead of discussing the latest political or cultural topic, to which my family is prone, my neighbor’s family bounces babies and/or plays multigenerational games like “Uno”.  If there is room, they dance or go outside to play football.  It is the kind of family I remember from my youth, large, warm and loving. May the members continue to be a blessing to each other and to all with whom they interact.

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