01 July 2009

CanTeach asks...

What is a good neighbour?

Well, I've moved lots of times, had lots of neighbors over the years. Some lived right up close, upstairs or down, and some lived over the fields and thru the woods. I've'd good neighbors, nosy neighbors, skanky neighbors, charming neighbors, neighbors who kept to themselves and out of my business, and neighbors who were so helpful that they gave new dimension to good neighbors.

I do appreciate friendliness, yes, and also enjoy some ability of my neighbors to maintain good boundaries so that they aren't interferring with others. The best neighbors I've ever had has to be my landlords on the farm. The worst neighbors I've ever had were drug-crazed skanks who'd lived below my efficiency in Georgia. I'd seen the cops show up too many times, and in Georgia the law is that if cops are called in for a domestic dispute, somebody is going to jail. With this couple, they both would end up screaming obscenities and demands at the cops; cuz even tho they were beating the shit out of each other prior to the cops' visit, they vehemently defended each other once the cops got involved. Sorta like, I can pick on my siblings but don't you call them names. Does the heart good to see such solidarity. Actually, the only time I'd called the cops was actually for them. Some crack-head friend of theirs broke in to help themselves to some money or some stuff to pawn in hopes of obtaining their next hit and my downstairs neighbors came upstairs, asking me to call the cops cuz part of their back door was missing and the front door had a big ole hole in it. They and the cops asked if I'd heard any noises and I have to say, nothing that was any different than usual. Everyone nodded at that. Hard to argue with previous track records, ya know?

My landlords on the farm were my closest neighbors. Altho technically, his parents had the most neighborly address; as their two mile long driveway came out next to my place. My landlords lived a scant half mile from me, living in the Big House with a few rentals scattered across their five hundred acres. They and their children are really nice people. They don't interfere with me or my affairs, but are helpful in ways that most people don't think about being, with either their neighbors, their tenants, or their landlords. Over the years, I've baked them yeast breads, short breads, cookies, cakes, and the like. They've helped me out numerous ways when asked, like the time she came to the jail {with her homeschooled children, field trip!} to bail me out. Or the time she carted me up the hospital. Or the time she cinched up my corset, cuz really, have you ever tried to do up your own corset while wearing it? yeah, tricksee lil buggers, aren't they? We've laughed and snickered and chatted for hours over tea when I went down to pay the very reasonable rent {which has never increased over the past seven and a half years}. I've watched their kids grow from children, thru the awkward adolescence phase (and not once did the boys lose their patience when i mistakenly thought their sweet high voices belonged to their mom), to driving and senior year of high school {how'd that happen?!?} and listened to their mom brag about their many accomplishments. I've joined them for Christmas dinners and taught her how to crochet and to loom. And now, she is hosting the reception for us at our wedding.

I think good neighbors are kind and considerate, friendly without being nosy, giving and peaceful. I like being a good neighbor, helping when I can and not having to be asked to do so, while always being respectful of their wishes concerning their own affairs. I like drama-free neighbors who aren't always dragging the entire neighborhood into their squabbles and antics. Good neighbors don't necessarily have to have lots in common with each other. Some of my best neighbors whilst growing up were very different from me and my family, yet we always stopped each other on the front porch and chatted away; or visited over the back fence as we hung laundry. Folks are interesting in general, and good neighbors are there when you need them, and there in the background when you don't. i like knowing that my neighbors feel comfortable enough to call on me for assistance, if in need. cuz i like being a good neighbor, don't you?

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