Love Thy Neighbor

Dear friends,

So, as promised, yesterday one of my many new lovely neighbors helped rid my front yard of some of the carnage from Saturday’s chainsaw massacre.  Susan is delightful, and I have the feeling that it is very significant that she and I have met and are neighbors.  She seems like quite the renaissance woman–“writer, teacher, adventurer” her personal business card states.  My kind of gal!  She shared the story of her truck–a prized possession of her late husband–which makes her feel good when she uses it to help others (like me) and is reminded of his generous spirit.  Probably next week she’s going to help me haul over our neighborhood-owned wood chipper, which I can then use to “chip away” at the mountain of woody debris in the backyard.

My other neighbors have been wonderfully welcoming and helpful to me as well.  And people say Americans don’t know their neighbors.  Bah!  I’m on a one-woman mission to prove that wrong.  Next door to me is Darcy, the widow of an Episcopal priest who died while they were serving and teaching in Uganda quite some time ago.  She is a gardener too, and I enjoy the evenings when she and I are simultaneously puttering around in our backyards-gone-wild from either side of our shared chain-link fence.

Kitty corner to me is Chuck.  He is 89 and still quite a worker.  He is proudly LDS (a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, or a “mormon,” for those of you who don’t live in the Book of Mormon Belt–where ironically people self-identify as “LDS” rather than “mormon”).  Anyway, he was a painter by trade for decades, and he prepped and primed the entire interior of my house at the beginning of the renovation.  He served in World War II.  When he came back home to Idaho after the war and needed a job, a friend of his had become a painter making $1.35 an hour.  That sounded pretty good to Chuck.  So he was a painter for like the next 40 years or so, and still does it whenever it’s needed.

Directly across from me are Kurt and Mayana.  They are new to the neighborhood too–just moved in around September.  They are delightful.  Kurt is rather extroverted and spontaneous, which I can appreciate.  But given that I’m about 50-50 extrovert-introvert, I also appreciate Mayana’s quiet, gentle ways.  She’s Canadian, a yogi, and a piano teacher–that gives a good image of her personality.  Contemplative and artistic.  A great combination–attributes that I hope others [at least eventually] would ascribe to me.

I haven’t directly met the family who rents the house on the other side of my formidable hedge.  They are not there all the time–mostly just weekends.  Rumor has it they have seven little boys in the family.  I’m not quite sure if maybe that’s a total for alllll the little boys in a bigger family system, but there is lots of football-throwing and frisbee-tossing that happens in their yard, so I can believe there’s a whole lot of little boys over there who belong to someone.

Lastly, kitty-corner from my back fence is Ina and her sweet lady boxer Presley.  I’m so relieved that she doesn’t bark much.  That would drive me nuts hearing dog barks incessantly in the early mornings or the evenings when I’m trying to relax on the patio.  I had a dog at one point in my life, and as much as I loved her dearly, the barking drove me nuts–and she only barked when someone approached the house (particularly the mail man, who I’m pretty sure was convinced that she would tear his throat out if she weren’t still attached to her lead).

Susan owns the house across from my side  yard, which was recently vacated of its renters.  I didn’t get to know them much in these short few months I’ve lived here, but the little girl Brooke was quite a fixture in the neighbor.  She played a quintessential suburban character–which is that she was probably 10 years old and knew (or at least wanted to know) everything that was going on with everyone around her.  She played outside all the time, shooting baskets or riding her skateboard down the street with her other little girlfriends.  I was hoping that they owned that house and would be around a while, as it would have been fun to befriend Brooke and take her up like a little sister.  There’s a part of me that has always wanted to be a Girl Scout leader, and I had visions of teaching Brooke how to make the perfect pie crust or start a fire or set up a tent in the backyard, etc.  Oh well, maybe another young family will buy that house and become the new new neighbor (replacing me as the newbie, of course).  Although that being said, I *might* also have a growing fantasy of some hot single guy moving in, and then we would become friends, and then we would start helping each other out with our yard projects, and then we would start having each other over for dinner to say thank you, and then–well, okay, you know how that story ends.  I’ll keep you updated.

Anyway, whoever becomes my new neighbor, I hope to be as welcoming and loving to him (or her, or them) as my neighbors have been to me.

Nighty night,

Liz

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