Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Edition
The Elderly Couple
When we moved into our first (and current) home eighteen years ago, our neighbors were an elderly couple. She’d been widowed twice. Him, once. She baked pies from the cherries grown on their tree. He told stories of his Merchant Marine days in WWII. They spent evenings sitting in the shade of two giant maple trees. When it snowed, the previous owner of our home often came with his snow blower. When he didn’t, we shoveled out the shared mailbox area in front of our homes.
The Meth Lab?
When taking care of the property got to be too much for the elderly couple, they moved to an apartment. The house was sold to a young couple with two large chocolate labs. They were pleasant, but for a long time, we suspected they were running a meth lab (the humans, not the chocolate labs). Strange containers and odors. People coming and going in the middle of the night. Despite being Canadian, they were not adept at shoveling snow, so we shoveled out the shared mailbox area in front of our homes.
Redneck Snow Removal
When the couple left, a woman and her teenage daughters moved in. While the woman (and later her boyfriend) were always kind to our children, the total amount of words spoken to us by the daughters never surpassed twenty in all the years they lived there. Their system of snow removal consisted of having one of the daughter’s male friends drive a pickup through feet of snow until it was tamped enough for them to drive over. They didn’t shovel their walk, so we shoveled out the shared mailbox area in front of our homes.
I Want to Be Alone
When the woman, her boyfriend, and her daughters left last month, I reveled in not having people so close. No worries as to whether our music or our kids were too loud. We could wander onto the patio for weekend breakfast in our pajamas. We’ve always wanted to live in a more secluded location, so I’ve been reveling in the relative privacy.
Vetting the Prospects
In the four days the home has now been on the market, at least five families have been through. Depending on the vibe they give off, we either rush into the backyard with smiles, letting the kids play cheerfully, or send them outdoors, encouraging tantrums and any other behavior that might drive the prospects off.
[Insert “You came to the wrong neighborhood” meme without F-bomb here. Good luck in finding one.]
What Might Be
I grew up in a mixed commercial/residential home. Our only neighbor was my uncle’s transmission shop. On the other side of him was a hermit lady who only left the home to go to work. I have no real experience with neighbors. When I was at a friend’s house, and she went next door to borrow some sugar, I was stunned. I thought that only happened on TV sitcoms. While our neighbors thus far have ceded all shared snow removal to us, it hasn’t been so bad. There have been no arguments. No disputes. No gross violations of property or privacy. I find myself wondering what we could be in for. It could be a happy family with values that match ours and kids whose ages line up with ours. Or it could be a fight club. A revolving door of shady suspects. A neo-Nazi or a bunch of belligerent oafs. The may not tend to snow removal.
A Neighbor Novena?
We’ve decided a novena for a new neighbor is in store. Any suggestions? Since St. Joseph is the go-to guy on homes, he seems like a logical choice. Or maybe we should just pray for Fred Rogers to intercede for us. I bet he shoveled snow.
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