Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh, Who are the People in Your Neighborhood?

When we first moved into our neighborhood, we were a little shell-shocked by how nice everyone is. We weren't sure how to handle it, but you get sucked into sincere, genuine kindness, and now we are probably some of those same people who show up being nice and friendly, while the new neighbors suspiciously wonder why we are so nice. I confess, while we were looking at purchasing our home, we met several neighbors, and they really sealed the deal on the purchase of our home.

Several nights this month we have received 2-3 loads of goodies, gifts and treats from our kind neighbors at a time. We often come home to find our sidewalks snowplowed, our sidewalks edged, and occasionally, our lawn mowed by our neighbors. When C's parents visited on their BMW motorcycle, it tipped over, and our neighbor rushed over to help lift it. When someone is moving something, we rush over to help, or when someone has a basement flood, we do the same. We take in packages for each other, feed pets, take in mail, watch each other's homes, help each other when we have car problems, drop each other off at the airport, pick each other up when we see a neighbor waiting for a bus, and have healthy sports rivalries with our neighbors' children. We even get an occasional invitation to a child's birthday party as the only adults invited with camoflaged party invites! Several neighbor girls drop by on a regular basis to see our little bird, and when our neighbors' children have dance concerts or musical events, we do our best to go to them.

The other day I dropped by to visit a student who will be in my church class come January, and when his parents told me he was at another neighbors' home, I felt perfectly welcome stopping by that home to introduce myself. I was welcomed in with, "Oh, Hi there, [A], we are just playing with fire." I walked into the dimly lit kitchen to find a crowd of children around a table filled with half-burnt candles, and my intended student held a long, brass candle-snuffer in hand. "It's Solstace. Happy Solstace! We are just practicing for the bonfire later."

Now, see? I never would have known it was Winter Solstace if I hadn't felt comfortable enough to make that friendly neighborhood visit! One of our neighbors is a movie producer, and has an annual summer-screening of a child-friendly movie on a big screen in his yard. Another neighbor opens her home for a girls-only Christmas party, and women of all ages gather to fill her home and mingle. Two of our neighbors have a bi-annual Christmas village fest, where they invite the entire neighborhood to tour their elaborate villages. We are in an off-year, but last year's display was spectacular and challenged the magnificence of Mini-World in Victoria.

Our neighbors love us, it is true, and who could ask for better neighbors? We have a particular newer neighbor who expressed a desire to offer some herbs that might assist with our childless situation. We kindly declined the offer, and they kindly tabled the offer, but I confess: When homemade items are offered, we curiously wonder if those herbs might have wandered into the recipe.

We share produce, we show up at funerals, we look for the best in one another, we go on double dates together, we feed each other, we haul one anothers' pruning clippings to the green-fill for each other, we share strawberry and raspberry plants with each other, we serve one another. . . and these are the people in our neighborhood!

While we are on the subject of Sesame Street, I have to include a personal favorite here:

So, who are the people in YOUR neighborhood?

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