To God be humble, to thy friend be kind, and with thy neighbors gladly lend and borrow; His chance tonight, it maybe thine tomorrow. William Dunbar (1460 – 1520)
On walks, Comet and Dexter both love to visit with our neighbors. While Dexter is much more the initiator, he perks up on a walk when he spots either one of my nearest neighbors, or his dog-man buddy, Mike, on the next street over, Comet enjoys saying hello too and does not want to be left out.
The chance to go for a walk this morning with my wife – she held the dog leads – was an opportunity for all of us to get some sunshine and stretch our legs. While I know a few of our neighbors very well from these walks, I know several others by years of greetings and Halloween or Christmas festivities. From the path around the back of their houses and into the hill, we see dogs in yards looking out. Some seem always to growl and snap, while others seem content to bark and run. If we happen upon one out on a walk, it is the smallest ones who get snippy. But these are also our unmet neighbors content to live behind walls and fences. Neighbors whom no one really sees.
With our closest friends, kindnesses run deeper than exchanging a bit of chocolate at holidays, although we will also trade vegetables and fruit with one another. Watching our dogs, or more exactly, watching that our son watches the dogs when we are away for a weekend. Or tools exchanged between us, from trimmers, nail guns, drywall drills to concrete hammers. Or plumbers putty and yard refuse bins. Caring for my newly planted roses when I went to the hospital. We look out for one another.
When somebody kept trying to break into my parked car, a neighbor on two successive nights got details leading to an arrest. When our home almost caught fire, it was our neighbors who first asked whether we needed anything to help fix up. And when some questionable people were hanging around because of the teen daughter of a new resident on our street, our two-decade-strong neighbor relationships “influenced” that family not to renew their rental the following year.