Last month, my husband came home from work and said, “Do you know who shoveled our driveway?” Me being the hermit I am, and our dog being as anti-cold as I am, I didn’t even realize it had snowed. But it had – a lot.
“No,” I said. I mean obviously one of our neighbors had done it, but the question was – which neighbor?
See we have the kind of “problem” that anyone else wishes they had – we have the best neighbors. They all are always going out of their way to be kind and do things for us and each other, and we try to be the same kind of neighbor – whether it’s baking them things, pet sitting or just keeping an eye on things.
The most obvious suspects were houses A (across the street and a little to the left) and B (across the street and a little to the right). We’re closest to house A and they have done such things before. My husband and House A husband are friends and often text (as my husband is a grown man who isn’t into “talking” a few texts a week seems miraculous and huge) while House A wife and I are friends. If I need a ride to an appointment (I can’t drive for medical reasons) she is always willing to help me out if she’s able. If I just want to chat or get out of the house we go out for coffee. From things like watching our house and our cat when we’re out of town to loaning us tools or yard stuff or even stopping by to surprise us with something sweet – House A is by far the best neighbors anyone can ask for. If we ever move, I seriously want to find a way to take them with us.
House B is also great and the reason they were the likely suspect is because they have a snow blower (I think they’re the only ones out of our five good/close neighbors who do) and so when the husband is home and it snows he often goes driveway to driveway while people are at work or away. I remember when we first moved into our house and I shoveled our driveway after the first big snow – me, all 100 pounds, without any gloves, struggling with two feet of snow and a shovel. He came over and asked me if I wanted help. I said no – I mean I was almost done anyway, and he said next time he’d be glad to do it for me. A few weeks later, I was recovering from brain surgery (though none of the neighbors knew that) and my husband stayed at the hospital with me so our driveway collected a lot of snow. It had been cleared away when we returned home together, after my discharge, however. The next day, this neighbor came by apologizing because his snow blower ate some Christmas lights that lined our driveway. We hadn’t even noticed, but were happy to know who did our driveway so we knew where to direct the thanks.
There is House C on our right. We probably know them the least even though they’re right next to us, but we know them enough to know we’re lucky to have them. They always wave to us and in the past they’ve mowed our yard when we’ve been out of town for more than a week and have helped us out when we’ve tried to figure out different issues with our yard. They’re the house to go to, because they easily have the nicest, most beautiful grass on the block. I don’t know what their secret is, but I’ve decided it can’t just be that they water it way more than the rest of us. I’ve also accepted our yard will never come close to being so nice. 😛
Then House D is next to us on the left, and House E next to them. Again great neighbors (both houses). Whether it’s dropping off a fruit cake or hosting a holiday party for the neighborhood, whether it’s visiting or doing something for us – or in the most recent instance after I lost a battle with TWO (yeah, two) manual can openers while making a surprise meal for my husband who was at work at the time, House D swooped in with a can opener. I suggested they use it because I had just broken two, and didn’t want to be responsible for a third, and they happily obliged. (Yes, one of my quirks is I break kitchenware like nobody’s business. Can openers, garlic presses, I even busted a crockpot without dropping it or doing anything obvious – I still don’t know what I did to cause the bottom to fall through.) I so owe them.
I realize that we (my husband and I) are in the middle of this wonderful “Best Neighbors Ever” bubble. Being from the Midwest, I have always wanted good, kind neighbors who watch out for you and you do the same for them. Saying hello, making them things for no reason, helping each other with yard stuff, doing May Day baskets (I’m the only one who does them, but I go a little crazy with them [see Exhibit A and Exhibit B] and they know it’s me, even though we all pretend it’s a secret or something).
We love our house and have made it a home; but we feel like we won the lottery with our neighbors. They’re good neighbors not out of a feeling of obligation or to take credit (you know the people who do good things, but want to make sure everyone knows all of the wonderful things they do – yeah, not our neighbors), or just to feel some kind of weird moral superiority. No. Our neighbors are just good, kind, genuinely warm people and we just get to benefit from living right next to them all.
These are the kinds of neighbors I’ve always wanted, but never had. My husband feels the same. He didn’t grow up in the Midwest, and I’m not sure he realized neighbors could be like this and so I’m not sure he ever actually wished for it, but he’s the first to say: We can’t ever move. We have the best neighbors.
And we do.