Write on Wednesday~ Good Neighbor

“You know our good neighbor is moving away,” G. told me one day last summer when I took over a letter  of hers that was mistakenly delivered to my house.

“I know,”  I said sadly.  She was referring to our across the street neighbor, whom we all called by his nickname, Bud, but whom she always referred to as “my good neighbor.”

It was a fitting moniker – he was the man who brought in our trash cans if they blew into the street, collected the mail or watered the flowers when we were on vacation, supplied us all with bounty from his magnificent vegetable garden throughout the harvest season.  He was particularly good to G., a widow in her 80’s who lives in a big four bedroom house on 1/2 acre of land.  He did everything for her ~ from replacing light bulbs to clearing snow to putting gas in her car every Friday.

“I just don’t know what I’ll do without him,” she said with a small shake of her head.

We all feel that way, for he was a man of remarkable goodness and generosity.  Oh, he had his prejudices, similar ones to many people of his generation.   But deep down, he believed in the golden rule, and he lived it to the hilt.

From his easy chair in the living room he had a direct line of vision to my house.   “When are you gonna slow down a little, doll?” he’d say, after watching me go in and out of the driveway six times a day.   He was always the one to call me if a package was on the porch, or if I’d forgotten to close the garage door.  From the day I moved in here as a new bride, almost 34 years ago, he was like my benevolent protector, one I called upon many times.

But now he’s gone, packed up his own 55 years of memories in that house and moved his wife and aging Basset Hound south of here to Ohio, where he’ll be within a stone’s throw of his two daughters and his grandchildren.   “We need to be near our kids now, ” he said wisely.  “We’re gonna need people to help us pretty soon, and I don’t want to have to call on the neighbors to do it.”

Isn’t that ironic?  Even in the end, he was being a good neighbor.

So now we’re waiting for our new neighbor to arrive – a young man in his late 20’s will soon be moving in.  Maybe I”ll bake some cookies for him, take some treats for his dog.  Offer to pick up his mail if he’s going to be away.  A young man all alone like that might be in need of a good neighbor.  I can be one I suppose – I certainly had a good teacher.

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7 thoughts on “Write on Wednesday~ Good Neighbor

  1. Becca,
    How amazing that he was there when you moved in.

    We all need a little help from time to time, and a good neighbor is a treasure, indeed. I’ve certainly had occasion to lean that recently. I had a catch in my throat all the way through this.
    Bella

  2. What a thoughtful beautiful post and what a kind and remarkable man. It is a lesson to which we should all adhere. Sometimes “being there” is just the best thing.

  3. What a lovely thought–that goodness, once started, stays in the air even when the doer of good goes away. I hope your new neighbor appreciates your kindness!

  4. I miss having true neighbors. Apartment living has its advantages, but especially where mom and I are, there’s a highly mobile population. Our complex has a high proportion of contract folks here from Europe or Asia for three or six months at NASA or subcontractors like Lockheed. They don’t care about having neighbors or being neighbors, and that’s absolutely understandable.

    Plus, so many of the folks who live here are young professionals – in their late 20s or 30s. They don’t care about the “old folks” who live here – and I’m afraid I have to include myself in that group for their purposes.

    When I think about retiring, I think about a mythical little town, where I could walk to church and the post office, and have someone to visit when I can’t get out any more. When you’re without family AND without neighbors, it’s tough. Friends are good, but friends scatter and most of mine are over 200 miles away.

    Good gosh. I’d better stop before I depress myself!

  5. I love hearing about neighborhoods like yours, where people know each other and keep an eye out for them.

    Maybe it’s just the newness of the neighborhood, but our neighbors don’t know each other very well. It took almost four years to get one neighbor to wave back. People keep to themselves here and it makes me sad.

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