Good neighbors remind me of a child's security blanket. It makes us feel better to have that blanket at arm's reach. We aren't aware of needing it all the time, but when we do need it, there it is.
Three years ago, we moved from a home I thought I'd never leave voluntarily where we had great neighbors. I needed fewer stairs and a developer wanted the land that was getting harder for Terry to keep up with so we began driving around looking at the possibilities.
One of our favorite neighborhoods was a fairly new one with just 30 homes, each with a few acres. Just one street went in to make a T with a cul-de-sac at each end.
Almost every day for months, Terry drove his truck through the neighborhood, watching for a For Sale sign to appear, It was at the height of the buying frenzy and we knew nothing would stay on the market in this attractive neighborhood.
Ray Bergey was our Realtor and called us to say a home was coming on the market in this neighborhood! We went in as the ink dried and signed right then for the home we now live in. One story, lots of garage spaces (although never enough for an actual car to get a space, of course), but just right for us.
What we didn't know was that the neighborhood had wonderful, wonderful neighbors. Our first inkling was the pie Rebecca Kiley brought over before we moved in. The most recent experience was the annual cookie exchange I attended next door at Teresa Inge's home last night. In between these two events are neighborly vignettes worthy of Norman Rockwell.
For instance, a neuropathy condition makes my walking and hand coordination awkward so Anne Roach made my plate of cookies for the exchange. When it was over, Missy Hubbard took my basket of cookie samples from everyone else's baking and carried them down the neighbor's front stairs so I could hold onto the railings on my way out. Small kindnesses offered automatically that make a big difference.
The most recent neighborhood gathering was just before Christmas. Pictured here are Cliff and Lynn Sipe, Trish Ulick, Kenn and Jackie Weitzer, and host Andy Harmond.
Many of the women attend a monthly luncheon for the sociability of keeping in touch; two new neighbors in the last three years who were expecting babies were astonished to find neighborhood baby showers arranged in their honor; any neighbor's serious illness triggers a sign-up list for meals to be provided. There are occasional cookouts and holiday parties. Some neighbors have become close friends, others just wave and smile. No one intrudes on another, almost all offer help when needed.
Extraordinary. Or is it?
While I am writing about my own neighborhood, I believe there are many, many others where people care about each other and, like the proverbial security blanket, are there when needed, when wanted. I'm taking a moment to realize how blessed I am to live among such good, caring people.
There are many ways to be a good neighbor - in the neighborhood and in the community. I am resolving to be mindful of being a good neighbor, not just being blessed by having good neighbors.
This American hometown experience of participating in real life with the people who live in our neighborhoods is what we at The Shopper want to focus on in our personal and business life. Let's forget for a moment about life's stresses and tell each other about all the good things that happen to us in everyday life.
P.S. It is rare that anyone moves out of this wonderful neighborhood but two wonderful neighbors have built a beautiful home in Homearama's Edinburgh Meadows and have their spacious home listed with Diane Keeley (also a neighbor!) so, if you are looking in Hickory and want great neighbors, come join us!
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 39 years.
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