It’s true. I really like my neighbors. I have memories of growing up in Keizer, OR, and we knew the neighbors to our left and right and across the street, and even in the field behind us. (Well, technically it was the church’s field, but we staked claim to it by smiling at the old ladies). Riding bikes up and down the street and borrowing a cup of sugar and stopping by for a chat and celebrating the 4th of July was just how it was, it was what we did.
And I realize now how abnormal that is to much of the world – or is it? Is it a characteristic of generations’ past? Is it just something that happened in quasi-small towns like Keizer, but doesn’t happen now, and certainly not in California? So the thankfulness is two-fold: I’m grateful to my parents for modeling to me what it meant to be in community with those who – literally – lived right in our neighborhood, even when and if they weren’t just like us. And I’m grateful now, that 14 years after high school, I finally live in a neighborhood in which people are IN each other’s lives.
Take, for instance, neighbor Mark: I met Mark soon after moving to Brisbane, and one thing led to another, but through our dogs we began having a little neighborhood dog park of sorts. Now, most every morning, we’ll have upwards of five or six doggy mamas and papas with their canines, conversing and laughing and sharing and just BEING in each other’s lives. And we’re different. We are so unlike each other at times that it’s comical – but damn it, I love the man! (And James, mind you, need not be threatened, as you might remember from this post). With his permission, I also then spoke about Mark a couple months ago at church, with purest of endearment.
Upstairs neighbor Kara [whom Mark dubbed “Hot Kara” – I’m “Good Cara,” boo!] and I now have gym memberships together, and while cheese and beer sometimes get the best of us, we end up going somewhat regularly to the gym. And unless we’re sweating in the middle of a Zumba or spin class, we end up conversing as our feet pedal over and over again on the Elliptical.
So tonite, as another paper bit the dust [with only 13 more pages of writing/1 paper to do!], I find myself reflective and grateful for those who’ve been placed right smack dab in the middle of my neighborhood. Do you know your neighbors? What do you love about them? What drives you up the wall? How can you – even more! – create community with those who are right next door to you?0