Monday, April 06, 2015

Good neighbors

There’s nothing better than having good neighbors. We have neighbors we’ve known for over 30 years, some we’ve known a few months, and others we do not know at all.

I’ve been blessed with good neighbors all my life, but I think part of the neighborly contract is being a good neighbor. It helps if you know the fences and the pathways. Every community has a line of demarcation between neighborly concern and being a busybody. I strive to stay on my side of the line.

Our small rural community is much like others that sprouted up across the south like dandelions in spring. There are beautiful houses near ours with manicured lawns, and further down the dead-end road, there are rental houses where the neighbors there change frequently.

I have neighbors that I can call at any time, day or night if I need help, and I stand ready if they call me.

When I was a child growing up in Sloss, I knew all of our neighbors, their siblings, their kids and most of their kinfolks who drove down from up north for a visit each summer. I usually knew what they were having for supper. During summer, no one had air conditioning so the windows were always opened.

Around 4:30 each afternoon, you could smell the aroma of cornbread baking, black-eyed peas cooking on the stove and the clanking of a metal spoon as it stirred sugar in a gallon Mason jar of warm tea. The menu changed each day, but with closed eyes and nose to the breeze, you usually knew what would be on the table later that evening.

I knew what kind of hard candy and other goodies the coffee man brought the neighbors each week. That’s because they often shared it with me and the other kids in the neighborhood.

The coffee man was a peddler of sorts that brought tasty candy and other things busy housewives needed from day to day. Although in hindsight, I have no idea why we called him the coffee man because I’m not certain he sold coffee.The neighbors I had growing up played a role in the person I became. Their concern helped protect me, and their advice helped me make better decisions through the years.

I got the idea for this column after a call from our closest neighbor, who happens to be my brother-in-law of 40 years.

He called a few minutes ago and needed my help. He’d climbed onto the roof to put sealant around his chimney but as he stepped onto the roof, the ladder shifted a little. He was concerned about climbing down without someone holding the ladder steady.

I hustled over there and he was safely on the ground within a few minutes. I was glad to help because he does so much for us. I never have to worry about my dogs or chickens when we travel. He’s an ideal neighbor.

Happy Easter.

Wild Honeysuckle ~ kin to the azalea


  1. Good neighbors are certainly a treasure. Unfortunately, the typical family today moves every few years and those long term relationships don't have the chance of developing like they once did.

  2. Anonymous8:42 PM

    God bless our neighbors--we've had a key to each other's house for 40+ years!!

  3. We live on top of our neighbors in a corner town home. We wave and say hello, but that is about it. It is risky getting too friendly with neighbors, sad but true, at least we remain neighborly.

  4. Good neighbours are so ideal and wonderful. If you have them, you are blessed

  5. At first glance I thought it was an Azalea. We have some in bloom on the shady side of the house for some reason. We are not nomally here this early, maybe they do it every year. But to the post. I agree it is nice to know your neighbors. I always liked to be a good neighbor. We have had some very good ones. In your case I am sure it is like having friends you must show yourself friendly, I reckon neighbors are the same.
    This was a very good enrty, Like a very good short story.
    Take care and have a great week.

  6. That is the joy of life in a small town or close-knit neighborhood. Close enough to enjoy their company but they still know when to mind their own business.

  7. I love those great neighbors Rick... especially when they are related to us... Have a great week ;)

  8. Hard to believe that we once survived without air conditioning. I do remember all the windows open in the summertime and the fans blowing. Glad you have some good neighbors there are are a good neighbor too!

  9. Meant to say and that you are such a good neighbor too.

  10. Hello Rick, This was really good! We all want good neighbors and being one is also very important! Loved this article, I could hear the spoon clanging and could smell the cornbread!
    Always, Roxy

  11. I miss the wonderful neighbors we had when we lived in town. We have nice neighbors here too but we don't see them as often, all though we do see their dog and cats and chickens fairly regularly! I'm betting you would be a fun neighbor to have! Wasn't there an old saying that said if you want good friends you need to be a good friend? Guess that goes for neighbors too!

  12. I know most of my neighbours in the complex I live in by sight if not by name, we get along with most of them too although we do have one right bitch living near us but generally speaking all are ok, including the ex prostitute and her drug dealing sons. Few I would really trust but we try to be nice to all we think it makes life easier.


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