"Oh, no! It's Mr. Bill!" Devotees of Saturday Night Live will recognize the opening gambit. It's probably what echoed through the neighborhood when we moved in. But let me tell you about that neighborhood! Not many people today can say they have lived in the same house for 37 years. Not many people can say they have had the same neighbors for those 37 years. Next door and down the street! And I LOVE our neighbors.
Down the street. Big old house. Older than ours! She was a teacher! He worked in a Savings and Loan and was a recruiter for the local tech school. We have a lot in common. They have no children of their own. We have no children of our own. They're nice people. We're...well, I prefer to think we're nice too!
Next door. Big old house. Built by the same carpenter as ours. Husband took our wedding pictures. Children grew up. I had them in class...I think. It was a long time ago. But we've had the privilege of watching them both be successful. Husband died. Children moved away from home. (Okay, one of them moved four blocks away, but they aren't living next door any more!) That left Sally. Sally is not just a neighbor. She is family. She looks after the house while we're away. She looks after the dogs while we're away. Over the 37 years, we have laughed together, cried over the loss of her grandchild, cooked together, eaten together, grown old together and laughed again! She doesn't drive. We park our car in her garage. We are the true picture of symbiosis. When we need her, she is always there. When she needs us, we try to be there! Let me put things in perspective. When they built their addition, they built the outside entrance with the door to our driveway rather than theirs! It just made sense!
Other neighbors have come and gone. Some of them, "interesting" (they probably have said the same about us!) Just today, the across-the-street neighbors who moved east to be near their grandchildren stopped to see us. GREAT people. When they lived in town, we took care of snow blowing tasks. If the city were kind enough to go by before I got home, he would have blown out the residue before I got home. We reciprocated. In fact, when we were trapped in Costa Rica due to a storm in Dallas (now there's a story I will share some day!), they had a blizzard. When we got home, the driveway was completely cleaned! I told you. I love my neighbors! Couple that with the jars of hot-pepper jelly and salsa they brought with them, and we REALLY love our neighbors.
The whole thing gives me pause. For 37 years, there have never been cross words. For 37 years we have developed amazing relationships. For 37 years, we have grown, and aged, and laughed, and loved. If we can do it, why doesn't everyone else? Can't we all just get along?!
I'm going to put on my slippers and my cardigan sweater and think about how lucky I am to live in Mr.s Bill's neighborhood! Know you are loved!