Friday, December 12, 2014
Neighbors - Old School
We got a lot of snow this week. I have a bad back. I didn't know if my plow guy would come because I am still working on paying off the bill from last winter. I just knew that there would be a way to deal with it and sometimes I wonder about my plan to grow old in this house, usually when the snow starts to fly. As the snow piled up, I saw my neighbor to the right shoveling his sidewalk and then mine. He and several of the other men who have rented rooms from him have kept my front walk clean for the last 4 years. Living alone, I have been most appreciative. I have reciprocated by making cookies, soups, and hand-knit hats.
Yesterday, the church mother of the church across the street got stuck in the snow trying to pull into the driveway that had not yet been plowed by their contractor. I texted my neighbor next door to ask for help for Ms. Dorsey, especially since his 23 year-old son just came back to the nest to regroup so I figured there was an able body available to aid the elder in need. Both father and son were soon bundled up and digging her out, then escorting her to the church door, bracing her arm to be sure she did not fall. Shortly thereafter, the son knocked on the door to say that he was going to dig my car out in the back driveway. How sweet.
Today, I saw that the city plow finally arrived on our side street, pushing heavy, wet snow and ice into the end of the driveways up and down the block. I grabbed the shovel and invited the dog to come out with me while I carefully dug out the drive, planning on being methodical to protect my back. The left neighbor's other son, a 10-year old with a clear passion for videogames, was in the front yard playing in the snow. It seems that piles of cold, fresh powder hold an even bigger attraction. As I started to chip away at the ice pack, he called out, "Do you want me to help you?" I accepted his offer and we started shoveling and chatting about games, the school cancellations this week, Santa, etc.
Across the street, Wayne, the plow contractor for the church, was digging out the sidewalks and access points since there is a big holiday party at the church tonight. His little John Deere front loader was getting a workout. He signaled to us, mere mortals, to stand aside and he headed into my driveway pile, then to the neighbor's. In exchange, he asked me and my able assistant to dig out the fire hydrant on the corner as our part of the deal. So the three of us, including Enza the snow dog, headed across the street to meet our end of the bargain.
We thanked Wayne, shook hands, introduced the dog to the young woman leaving the church who was visibly fearful of canines, trying to help her learn that not all dogs attack.
Then it was obviously time for snow angels, if you are 10. My young friend threw himself into the piles and the dog followed, burrowing for whatever was lurking under the surface. They played and played in the front yard and the back yard, the two of them snowy messes in no time. I left them to their play in back for awhile longer, until Enza decided that she was cold and she abandoned her playmate. I gave him permission to come ask for Enza to play anytime he wanted to roll around in the snow with a four-legged friend.
When my neighbors to the left moved in this summer, I went over the first day to introduce myself and welcome them to the neighborhood. We had conversations throughout the summer about how neighbors used to be when we were young and I was able to say that, on this block, we still look out for each other. We have had many times to prove this to be true in these past 6 months. So today, spending time talking about life and being neighbors with the youngest son was the natural order. It is the only way I know to be. And tonight, I hope to be home from work in time to stop into the party at the church across the street. They are my neighbors too. And I know it will be festive. Maybe there will be food left too...