Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Neighbors and other groundhogs

Not too long ago, neighbors indicated that the members of their household are thinking of packing up and moving away.  No specific reason really, no job transfer or family relocation necessary. They’re just interested in leaving.  When pressed, they cite the occasional crime in our area or some shady looking character seen driving on the streets from time to time.  But, they admit that the bottom line is that they desire more rooms and room-to-roam.

 

While I don’t begrudge them their wish to run away, I don’t want see them go.  I respect their desire for a larger home and a safer neighborhood (though I think that’s the proverbial needle in a haystack anymore), but I want them to remain in my cul-de-sac, in my world, in my life.  See, the people who live on my street are more than just the people in my neighborhood, as Big Bird would say.  These people, along with various other friends, make up this ragtag group of relationships, in fact they are my relations – they’ve become my family.  Over the last decade and a half we have all gathered at birthday parties, holiday events and as the children grew into adults we began attending weddings and ultimately baby showers.

 

Granted, neighborhood relationships over the years have not always been perfect (again, it’s the needle in a haystack scenario to expect otherwise), they have been deep and meaningful.  There’s no doubt that spending over 15 years in someone’s face can result in hurt feelings, misunderstandings and miscommunications.  But that’s life and life is messy and at times uncomfortable.  However, life is also interlaced with moments of great joy and caring, with emotions so deep that words cannot convey … loving gestures of meals brought during illness or the loss of a loved one; trash cans taken to the curb without a word when an overwhelmed, newly divorced woman forgets; chocolate bars delivered by someone still wearing a bathrobe when news of someone’s priceless family heirloom (smashed by accident) buzzes back and forth across telephone lines.

 

A part of my soul yearns for what I’ve only read about in novels and history books, where once-upon-a-time families grew up not far from one another.  Stories of summers spent with cousins and every event, large or small, families gathered around tables to share meals, stories and opinions and sometimes even passionate, cross words – but the bottom line is: they shared.  Those of us with far-flung (or far out) familes, who do we really do that with today?

 

Not all the neighbors on my block are sentimental throwbacks to Beaver Cleaver Street or, perhaps in our case, more appropriately Wisteria Lane.  Some live like hermits or groundhogs.  They zip out of their driveways early and return late, never even sharing a glance, much less a word, with some of us on the block.  Every now and then they’ll raise their heads out of  their holes long enough to bicker with someone about parking spots on the street or noisy, meddlesome kids after dark.  If they moved, I would not miss them.  I would only miss the stories they’d be leaving behind.  And, I’m not embarrassed to admit – I love a good story.

 

Still, I do not like that everything around me seems to be fast-paced and disposable, with everything moving at the speed of light.  That includes neighbors.  For better or worse, I’d like to spend the rest of my days surrounded by friends and neighbors.  Especially, those neighbors I love.  Heck, far as I’m concerned even the groundhogs can stay and have their day.  Makes for interesting storytelling, over and over again.

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