48. Being Neighborly.

2 Nov

Boy, did I witness Southern hospitality in action when I was in Memphis helping my sister with her new baby, Eli. The folks in her neighborhood were kind enough to set up a feeding schedule for the adults (me, Jenna, and Shawn). Every other night, someone from Jenna’s subdivision took over dinner duties, bringing us homemade meals that were ready to heat and serve. There are few pleasures in life better than eating a home cooked meal that you didn’t have to cook yourself. Especially after a few days of hospital vigils fueled by fast food.

My sister had major complications shortly after coming home and had to go back into the hospital for several days, and her neighbors shifted into high gear. Not only did they keep the meals coming, they also helped me in my new role as single mother of two. One of her neighbors kept Eli for about four hours each day so I could get some work done (or sometimes just a shower and nap).

I should also mention that Jenna’s not-so-nearby friends showed up with food and to help out with the kids, too. But I was really floored by the concept of neighbors who were so, well, neighborly. That just doesn’t happen here.

Off the top of my head, I can tell you the names of three of my neighbors: Ruth, next door; Vern, two doors down; and Bill two doors down on the other side. I’ve never actually met Bill, but Geoff has talked to him quite a few times. I think he got to know him when we needed to park a concrete truck essentially in his yard in order to repair our retaining wall. But I digress.

When I’ve been incapacitated, none of my neighbors has brought me so much as a donut from Safeway. And, to be fair, I have not made deliveries to their doors either. Now that I think about it, Geoff did pass out plums in the years before the invention of Plummy Yummy.

The sad truth is, Geoff is far more neighborly than I am. If he sees somebody struggling with an unruly couch, say, he’ll go out and help them. But then he will also run off people trying to pee in our yard or smoke crack in the driveway. Actually, he’s not so much neighborly as vigilant. I should note that his office window faces the street.

Even though we don’t often interact with the neighbors, we know them by pet names such as “Bandana Boy,” “Little Crazy Guy,” “Grill Boy,” “Purple Smoking (not crack) Lady,” “Sunshine Boy,” (note: only one of these boys is actually a juvenile) and my favorite, “Greenwood Man.” Geoff also names the squirrels, but that’s a whole nother story.

One time Walter, who used to live next door, dropped by to let me know that he’d hit my parked car. I thought that was right neighborly of him.

This one goes out to my sister’s neighbors:

I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we’re together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?

If so, bring over more of those chocolate-covered peanut butter balls. Thanks!

Are your neighbors naughty or nice?

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One Response to “48. Being Neighborly.”

  1. Suwannee Refugee November 5, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Most of the folks living around us we’ve met and enjoyed. They are nice and courteous. I find this is true in most small towns in the South.

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