Neighbor Friends

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Everyone has a neighbor. They are sort of like roommates in your neighborhood, in an extended family sort of way.  We don’t have to see them all the time or clean up after them, but when you get a good one, you are extremely thankful.

I am counting my blessings today for a lifetime of great neighbors.

It began in Timberlake Subdivision with Andy, Mark, Mike, James, Scott and Wade.  Notice they are all dudes.  BONUS.

Kids have an easier time, I think, being good neighbors.  All it took was a bike or a basketball hoop,  a day in the snow or a deck of cards.

I didn’t meet any of my neighbors in the post-college bachelorette apartment in the suburbs of Orlando.  I do know that they were nice enough not to rob my fine collection milk crate furniture after I sometimes left my keys in the door, exhausted after my first days as a second-grade teacher.  For that I am eternally grateful.

The Michigan neighbors we had before our children came along were informative–one of them was quick to show us the news reel where our new-to-us rental house was the site of the biggest drug bust in Detroit history.  Well, I’ll be.  That explains the bashed in closet door.

In a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT neighborhood, we were blessed with a cul-de-sac which lovingly held 21 children in 5 adjacent houses.  Those were amazingly busy, loud and fun times as we made our own little York/Thames Court Village to raise our rambunctious toddlers and bickering elementary aged children.  One summer the “big” 8-10 year old girls held their own Summer Camp for the preschool girls, complete with snack, craft, and story time.  It was a delight to observe these neighbor friends out the window.  Our sunflower house and stepping stone princess pathways produced some wonderful memories as the children bounced door to door.  The big boys were quick to include the toddler boys as well, helping even the youngest conquer fear as his little yellow & orange car careened down the driveway into the waiting hands of his big brother.  Sticks became sabers and piano lessons gave way to Star Wars humming as young jedi developed strength, defined rules and conquered everything in their path.

This same group of neighbors share scars of loss through our times together–infant loss, parent loss, and other family deaths which serve to drive us to find the hands and heart of God within each other.  Though we haven’t lived in that neighborhood in almost a decade, we are still bound by our caring and shared parenting experiences with one another.

More good neighbors awaited in a new home–co-workers, dog-sitters, wise counsel, adopted aunts and uncles.  Older kids that made me say their name like Seinfeld says “Newman.”

Now in coastal Virginia we find even more treasure of neighbors–activists, sports fans, gardeners, foreigners, so many patriotic Navy men and women who come and go too soon and often, but not without taking our hearts and gratitude with them.  On one side of the house we currently live in is Bob the retiree who blesses me every day when I walk the dogs.  Sometimes with a wave and a greeting, sometimes with a longer chat.  He and his wife Connie came to our son’s graduation party and chatted with our family.  They fit right in.  On the other side are Randy and Randy Jr.  They are always out in their gorgeous yard and we get the benefit of their hard work.  They do not complain about the neglected leaves and pine cones that is their view of our house.

It doesn’t matter how nice, convenient, big or updated your house is if your neighbors are a pain.  Our neighbors have always been the best feature of any house we have inhabited.

Everyone has neighbors, but not every neighbor is a friend.  We have found more than our fair share of neighbor friends.  I sure hope you have too!

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