Friday, April 17, 2009

Do You Know Your Neighbor?

This post is not like my other posts, but it is something that I wanted to share with my readers. How many of you know your neighbors? I am not proud to say that I don't know all of my next door neighbors. I have been living in my house since July of last year. I have met the neighbors that live next door to the south. There is a husband and wife. I can tell you the man's name is James. I feel bad that I do not remember the wife's name. I think it is Annette. Her daughter's name is Amanda, who had a baby in November. I believe his name is Benjamin. There are also two other girls living in the house. I cannot remember their names. They are in 5th and 7th grade. I am not certain, but close to those grades. I know that James and Annette are not their biological parents, but have custody of them. We wave to each other as we see each other pass by. Yesterday and today, I have talked to Amanda and her mom a couple of times. When we run out of eggs, milk, butter, or some other ingredient we need real quick to finish making our dinner, we have knocked on each other's door and asked for that ingredient. I know James and Annette have grandchildren that come over quite often to visit them. They are pretty young. Often a ball or frisbee that they are playing with will come over the top of our fence and they will ring our doorbell and let us know. I then go out back and toss it over into their yard. I would say I know them pretty well.

Directly across the street from us is another family that I have gotten to know as well. It is a mom named Sabrina. She is married to a man in the air force, whom I have forgotten his name. Shame on me! They have twin three-year-old sons, named Christian and Noah. Sabrina is going to have a daughter in June I believe. She told me last week that she is going to name her Olivia. When we had moved into our house in July, she came across the street and introduced herself to me. We had a yard sale about a month later. It was raining that morning and Sabrina was on her way to work. She came across the street and told us that she wasn't going to be home all day so if we wanted to use her carport for our yard sale we were more than welcome to. Wow! What a wonderful neighbor! We hardly knew her and had talked maybe two times and she was offering us the use of her carport for the day to have our yard sale in, that would have otherwise been rained out!

Now we go to the house next door to the north. I have never met them. I wave to them when I see them. I know that they have a dog, a jack russel, I believe. I have seen it through the fence. Our bathroom is on the wall that is near their fence. I know that dog has extremely good hearing because everytime it is outside and I go into our bathroom, it hears me and it barks. Piper and Finn try to climb to the top of the fence to look over at it. Piper has been more successful than Finn at this. I know they have alot of cars outside their house. The dad of the house (I say the dad, but I don't really know if he is the dad or not), works for the Railroad Commission. He has a white truck with that written on the side and it is usually parked out front of their house in the evenings and most mornings when I leave to take Piper to school. I think a girl in high school lives their because she is sometimes leaving in her suv when I am taking Piper to school. It seems that they have about five vehicles at their house. A combination of suv's and trucks. They come and go. I have often wondered about them. I wonder who lives in the house and what their ages are. I see many different people come and go. Yet, I have never stopped to talk to them and introduce myself to them. Jeremy says he has met them, or at least the man of the house. I have heard that a few generations ago, people would talk to their neighbors. The mom's would tell on each other's children. Neighbors would look out for each other. Things have changed.

When I was in elementary school we lived on a road with a farm across the street and a farm beside us. There were about 8 houses on our road that were not farms. Us kids would all play with each other. Two houses down, the lady would babysit my brother and I after school until my step-dad got off work and came to pick us up. Her name was Phyllis. Her husband's name was Jim. They had two parakeets in a cage in their kitchen. They also had a dog tied up to his doghouse out back. I don't remember the dog's name.

When I came home tonight, it was close to 10pm. As I pulled up to our house, I noticed a high school girl sitting on the curb to the house on the north side of us. (The neighbors that I don't know). I noticed the Railroad Commission truck was gone and there was only one other truck in the driveway. At first I just thought she was sitting on the curb talking on her cell phone. Something I hadn't seen from that house before, but nothing really unusual for a teenager to do, I thought. As I was getting the kids out of the van I realized she was crying and upset. I stayed at the van and continued to get the kids out. I looked at her and from my van asked if she was ok. She said she was. As I was getting my kids inside, I started to think about the teenage girl sitting and crying on the curb. I told Piper and Finn to put on their pajamas. And I took Rilian with me back outside to this very sad girl. Jeremy was not home yet. I knew the kids would be okay in the house for a little while. They were supposed to be putting on their pajamas. I walked over to her and knew something bad must have happened in order for her to be this upset. I asked her if she lived in that house. I felt really bad that I had to ask if she lived next door to me. How long had I lived here? Nine months! In those nine months had I bothered to go next door and introduce myself? No, I had not. Wow! Through her tears and sniffles she said she did not live there. I then said, "I know you don't know me, but are you ok?" She said she was, but I knew she was lying from the tears and sniffles she displayed. I asked her if she needed a ride. She said she lived a couple of streets away and her mom was coming to pick her up. I asked her if she wanted me to wait with her. She said no. I then told her that if she needed anything I would be in the house next door. She told me "thank you." Then I left her sitting there crying on the curb. I went back inside my own house. I left the front door open in case she had changed her mind. Perhaps she would feel more invited if I had the door open. Then I finished getting the kids ready for bed. I ended up closing the front door because Rilian was crying and I didn't want outsiders to hear him while I was tending to the other children. I seemed to have more patience with my own children tonight as I was putting them to bed. I am not sure why. Maybe because I was thinking about the saddened teenager sitting on the curb waiting for her mom to come pick her up. Sometimes when things happen, you realize what you have and you don't want to take it for granted.

I said a prayer for the teenage girl. Maybe I should have thought about it sooner and prayed for her when I was talking to her. I don't know if she was a Christian or not. I don't even know if the people living in that house go to church. I should know, but I don't. I do know that the people in the house on our south side go to church. I do know that the family living directly across the street go to church. I don't know why this girl was so upset. I probably will never know. She knows that I am a caring person because I took the time to go over to her and offer her some help. Maybe she would have felt more at ease and more willing to talk had I introduced myself first. I feel good that I tried to help her, but sad that I wasn't able to. Maybe she just needed her mom. I wonder if maybe her boyfriend lives in that house and he broke up with her. I know that would be sad for a teenage girl, or anyone else. I sure hope it is nothing worse! I do know that as a teenager, I wouldn't have talked to someone that I didn't know about what was making me so sad. Will this make me get to know my neighbors that live in that house? I don't know. Perhaps, I will go talk to them and can inquire about the teenage girl that was crying on their curb tonight. That might be a good way to break the ice. Or it might not since I don't know what happened. Maybe the reason she was so upset had nothing to do with anyone in that house. Maybe she just happened to sit down in front of that house. Who knows? I just know I feel so saddened for her.

What would you have done? Maybe you would have introduced yourself to the people living there when you moved in. Then you wouldn't have had to ask her if she lived there. Do you know your neighbors? I hope you are better than me and have taken the time to at least introduce yourself to your direct neighbors.

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