Monday, May 19, 2014

The Beauty of a Neighbor

A few recent years back, I became pret-ty jaded about neighbors.  On either side of us, we had those types of neighbors they write sitcoms characters about...or that show up on your evening news.  To begin to list some of the things we experienced throughout those years, well, you just wouldn't believe it all.  Then, one by one, those neighbors got kicked out.  One of the houses was overhauled and sat vacant for a while and then one day, there was a moving van.  My stomach dropped, my anxiety levels went through the roof and I was scared to death as to who our next neighbors would be.  Our previous neighbors had truly scarred me.  I quickly learned that I had nothing to fear.

These new neighbors were a gift and a half and couldn't be any different than those that lived there before.  Early on, Brent took notice that the wife just may be pregnant, as was I.  It was true and we shared our pregnancies and later watched our children bond as time went on.  They brought us homemade jellies, salsas, sweets galore and more.  I'm not saying that's the key to being a perfect neighbor but our bellies may argue that thought.  ;)  After two years of being spoiled by them, they are now on their way back to their hometown.  Tomorrow they move.  I'm really, truly sad but at the same time am excited for them to journey back home as I know it's where they want to be.  I know Rio will miss her little kissing and hugging buddy and I'll miss the folks who restored my faith in what it means to be a good neighbor.  
I've done lots of neighbor reflecting lately and actually, have thought about this post for a while, before I even knew our beloved neighbors were relocating.  We grew up with amazing neighbors; those that you become family with and always stay in touch.  A few of the happy neighbor memories floating around in my head:

*When I had Rio, my very first neighbors were some of the few that weren't family that visited us in the hospital.  They will always be family.  Their children were like my siblings.
*We once had one neighbor who moved away and a few years later, we moved too. While my dad was backing out of the driveway of our new house, he hit a car in the street.  Due to that, we learned that those SAME neighbors from our old house now lived across the street from us again for another ten years.  Crazy.  As a child, their daughter drove my motorbike into our pool.  They both survived.
*There were the neighbors who let me play with their extensive Lego collection and had Thor, the Norwegian exchange student live with them for a time.  Thor ended up naming one of our cats, Sasha.  I gained my babysitting confidence from these neighbors and developed lifelong bonds with their family.
*There was the endearing Italian man who worked at Builders Square and wore his shirts unbuttoned with gold chains and had Playboys delivered to his house regularly.  I'll never forget once when he had heart surgery and his house was robbed.  As a child, that rocked my core.  His name had such a fun ring to it, that I often use it in class for fictitious examples.
*There was the elderly Lebanese woman, Mary, who would make grape leaves from our grape vines out back as a child.  I'll never forget when she passed away.  I'll also never forget the odd Barbies she had on hand.
*There were those friends-turned neighbors that I shared my dream apartment building with and shared drinks with on the front porch many nights.
*There were the neighbors that had a daughter my age who I played in her bamboo backyard jungle with often only to learn in later years that it was a different, more *ahem* illegal, type of jungle we played in.  There are a million memories in my head from my time with her.  From playing in a tent in the front yard while listening to Michael Jackson to getting locked inside her bathroom with push pops in hand, the memories are endless.
*Once in college, my roommate and I decided we didn't want to, or need to, live together any longer and randomly ended up being next door neighbors the following year.  The perfect situation for us.
*There have been the neighbors that have passed while we live on and shed tears for.  There are those that simply offer a smile and wave on a day you need it most.  Golden neighbors.
*Then there's Sammie.  She wouldn't be in our world if it weren't for otherworldly neighbors. 
*And Crazy Crawfish, you're also one for the record books.
So dearest Rogers, among so much more, you helped me to remember the value of a truly good neighbor.  One that you know you can always call on, regardless of time, distance or circumstance.  You reminded me of all of the good that can be found just outside your front door.  You kicked away my neighbor funk.  And I thank you for that endlessly.  There are a million reasons why we'll miss you.  Mondo gives his love to Cadbury, and Rio to Ollie.  Happy trails to you...until we meet again....!

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad we restored your faith in neighbors. :) I get the feeling we could have been crappy neighbors and we still would've looked good comparatively. Ollie was an angel on the flight and enjoyed flipping through the pics of him and Rio. We will miss you all - A LOT!

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