Monday, May 06, 2019

Neighbors ~ my column from Sunday's paper

I’d just finished weed eating the backyard fence and was sitting in the shade sipping ice tea when I heard a rumble at the house across the road. The place has been empty for a few months, so I stepped over and peered between the gardenia bushes to get the snoop-scoop. A young man was taking down the “For Rent” sign by the driveway. I mumbled to myself – we have new neighbors.
The next day was Saturday, and I heard a push mower spring to life behind the place. Soon, the tall weeds that were as thick as a wooden fence were history.
A while later another car pulled into the drive. The two of them worked hard cleaning around the place for most of the day. I like that in neighbors. Someone who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty and knows the meaning of hard work. As they pulled out from their new driveway that evening, the streetlights had just blinked on.
On Sunday, I spent the morning converting our winter greenhouse back into a screen porch. By the time I’d finished, my shirt was wet. Flipping on the ceiling fan, I sat down to let the cool breeze from the fan dry my shirt.
Our new neighbors must have started working inside their new place. With open doors and windows, I could hear the muffled sound of music playing as they worked, and I thought I heard a small dog barking from somewhere deep inside. 
Jilda and I debated on whether to step across the road and welcome them to the neighborhood. We did that with some neighbors in the past, and the two of them looked at us as if we had leprosy. That chilly encounter cost them one of Jilda’s world famous “slap yo’ mama” pound cakes as a welcome to the neighborhood gift. 
In all honesty, I can see why people are standoffish when they move into a new neighborhood. This day and time, who knows what kind of psycho lives next door. Act friendly one moment, and the next moment, they are breaking into your house while you’re at Wal-Mart, rumbling through your medicine cabinet, and stealing your stereo.
When our new neighbors get settled in, we will step over and introduce ourselves and try not to act too weird, though that is sometimes challenging for me. 
What I’d like them to know is that we’ve lived here since Jimmy Carter was in the Whitehouse. We don’t play our stereo too loud on work nights, we don’t drive like Dale Earnhardt on these narrow, bumpy roads, and we pick up litter from the roadside each day when we walk. 
We’re mindful of boundaries, and we can be trusted to feed the dogs and pick up their mail when they occasionally go out of town on a weekend. 
We’ll do our best to be the kind of neighbors we’d like to have if we moved to a new community.

This picture has nothing to do with the column, but I took it yesterday at Tybee Island near Savannah where we spent the weekend for our anniversary.


  1. The few neighbors I became friends with had bad endings, so I am now very cautious. The best neighbors are the ones you can wave to, say hello and trust, but if you have a party you don't feel the need to invite them.

  2. Neighbours can (and do) make or break an area. You and Jilda sound like the best kind.

  3. We have had real good neighbours most of our life but we had one that made neighbours move away because they caused so much trouble for everyone. That house is now standing abandoned because the basement wall caved in during the flood of 2008 because of pumping the basement. Our area is very quiet once again.

    I hope they are good neighbours.
    Hugs, Julia

  4. Great column and expresses our feelings about neighbors also.
    From NC,
    Sherry & jack

  5. You never know with neighbours but I hope they have the same kind and respectful nature you and Jilda have.

  6. I'm sure the new neighbors will come to appreciate the good neighbors you and Jilda are. It just takes some time to get used to new digs.

  7. Good luck with your new neighbors. I won't go into our sad neighbor story, but you've given me an idea for a post!
    I love that photo, very nice!


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