Real Neighbors

This is a time when we all need real neighbors. I, for one, had begun to believe that real neighbors didn’t exist. I mean, not like the neighborly neighbors of times gone by. My neighbors and I wave at each other when passing by in our cars, or say the “how you doing?” when we happen to meet at the mailbox at the same time but that’s it. We all work various hours and the rat race sets the pace of our lives for socializing. At least that was true until the recent Corona-virus crisis.

My neighbor diagonal across the street walked over from her driveway to mine. I spoke to her by name and wondered what was up. She told me she was a pediatric nurse by profession, and if I ever needed anything related to my children, day or night, not to hesitate to come and get her. She told me her work hours and our conversation turned to how long she had been living on our street. It turned out that she had been living on the street for many years; she knew all the neighbors from before we moved on the street.

After our conversation at the mailbox, I went inside to share all that I had learned with my mother. Turns out, my mom is a pretty good neighbor herself. She knew many of the people currently on the street by name, as well as their family makeup and health conditions. In fact, she had been a rescuer for our neighbor directly across the street. He had been up on his roof cleaning gutters when his ladder fail leaving him stuck on the roof for hours. Thankfully for him, my mom came home from from errands; he was able to call to her. She went over, put the ladder back in place, and held it until he was able to climb down to the ground. Needless to say, they have been good neighbors ever since.

One of my grandchildren’s other grandma’s lives in our neighborhood. She called me one day completely beside herself; her little dog had disappeared from her yard. She lives alone and her dog is a big company keeper for her. I assured her that Harley would show up. The weather had been so crazy I figured he was chasing a squirrel or rabbit and would show up sooner or later. Harley did not show up that night. Members of her family had searched the neighborhood calling for the dog. Two days later one of her neighbors, that she did not know, brought Harley home. The neighbor had heard about her despair; she too searched for Harley and found him. Needless to say there was much joy as well as a new friendship established.

Why do we need crisis to become good neighbors? (I certainly am convicted.) I mean it’s great that we do it doing these times, but I want to be a good neighbor all the time. If I’m to busy to spend time getting to know people who live right around me, then I’m simply too busy! Nothing (here I mean no things) can be more important than people. My personal investments are off when all my time is spent chasing the rat. It’s time to make a change! To borrow a slogan from an insurance commercial, “Like a good neighbor,” I want to be there! What about you? How’s your neighborly thermometer? Cold or hot?

Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers
The definitive biography of Fred Rogers, children’s television pioneer and American cultural icon, an instant New York Times bestseller  Amazon.com

a picture book on sharing, kindness, and working as a team for ages 4-8 available on Amazon.com

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