One of the reasons we continue to live in our neighborhood, aside from the low property tax and a quarter century of remodeling, is the people who live here. Our community has seen a lot of changes through the years and certainly not all of those changes are good. If you read any of the articles I write, you’ll know a lot of those changes cause me a great deal of concern and I spend a considerable amount of time trying to maintain the status quo, or even rending some improvement.
This anecdote describes the best of living in my neighborhood:
On a recent Wednesday night after returning from a Neighborhood Leaders Group meeting I thought my long day was at an end and gratefully showered, changed clothes and got ready for bed. When the phone rang, my first thought was, “Oh no! I’m so close to being down for the night!”
Caller ID showed me it was a neighbor who lives around the corner. He told me there was a dog in another neighbor’s yard and he was sure it didn’t belong to the folks that lived there. My mind, always racing ahead, thought, “Dognapping?” He went on to explain that he had called another neighbor, described the dog and the dilemma and she thought she knew where the dog belonged. That neighbor recommended calling me, certain that I knew the dog’s owner. I did know her, and even though I was mentally kicking myself for even answering the phone, I knew my friend could not leave his wife to contact the dog owner himself, as his wife is ill and requires someone be with her. Neither of us knew her phone number, so there seemed no alternative but to get dressed again and make a trip to the next block to see the dog’s owner.
It was near 9 p.m. by then and when I approached this neighbor’s house, I could see the lights were off and dreaded waking someone, but what else could I do? I rang the bell and immediately, a dog started barking. OK, that meant it was not this lady’s dog. Her dog was raising a ruckus and the household! The upstairs window opened (…a smart thing to do and probably much better than opening the door at night when you aren’t expecting company…) I was embarrassed for waking her and lamely called, “Um, is Simon home?” She, while leaning out the window for a better look at the idiot asking for her dog, said, “Connie, is that you?”
I explained the phone call that led me to her, apologized for waking her and began to trudge back to my truck, feeling unhappy all the way around, when she said, “Well, it’s not my dog, but I bet it belongs to the neighbors across the street from me!”
The next doorbell I rang was answered by a young woman I had never met. She was excited to know someone had found her dog! She and her boyfriend (…or husband, sorry I missed that detail…) came out and I offered them a ride to the other neighbor’s house to get their dog. She explained the dog had gotten out early in the morning and while they had searched for the dog, they both had to go to work and consequently had worried all day.
Around the block, the neighbor who called me came out to meet me, just as the neighbors who had the dog came home. We all introduced the neighbors we knew to the neighbors we didn’t know. The dog was happy to be reunited with his owners and all the neighbors were happy that we’d done a good deed.
So, Patch readers, now you know in less than 700 words why I love my neighborhood and work to keep it intact: People here care about each other and whether they are strangers or friends, they are still neighbors. I wouldn’t trade that for anything!