I’ve seen lots of crazy neighbour stories here, but I can’t recall any good neighbour stories.
Today the starter motor on my lawn tractor crapped out. So, my son and I started taking turns cutting the 2.5 acres with a push mower.
My neighbour John saw this and immediately showed up with the keys to his lawn tractor. “Here, please. No, go ahead, use mine.” Which I appreciatively did.
And as I was cutting my lawn with John’s lawn tractor, my neighbour Jim, on the other side noticed my dilapidated lawn tractor and showed up in his Kubota and began helping too. Within 2 hours we had the whole 2.5 acres cut.
Thanks John and Jim. (Real names actually!)
Oh, and a few weeks back, John’s wife organized a neighbourhood party on our Cul de Sac taking place next weekend. We have about 40 homes in the neighbourhood and we’re getting together to have a few hamburgers, hotdogs, brewskis and socialize. I have some awesome neighbours.
An apartment I lived in a bunch of years ago had good tenants in the whole building. It was just a 6-flat, but we got together just about every Sunday night for drinks around the fire pit in the back. We all kept things clean and kept up around the place, it felt more like a condo building. I miss that place, even though I only lived there for a year.
This is certainly not the most fascinating or amazing of good neighbor stories, but I tell it here for the simple reason that I want to know if this kind of thing happens anymore.
Back in 1970 or so, when I was 7, we moved to a new house in a different area of town, where we knew no one. After just a day or two there, our new next door neighbors came over unannounced with two pecan pies to welcome us. That’s it. Is this completely unheard of today?
One of my neighbors is a Korean War vet. A handful of years ago I was making a trip to Austin to see someone and he went behind my back to get my flight information, then called the airline and had me upgraded to first class. This was a surprise I did not find out about until I got to the airport. Unfortunately they completely fucked up my return flight when upgrading me, and cancelled my reservation. This was a surprise I did not find out about until I got to the airport. I had to buy new tickets in Austin to get home, and they cost more than double what I’d already paid for round trip tickets. The neighbor is still the sweetest man ever, and he felt terrible but it wasn’t his fault. The same neighbor gave me a peridot ring that belonged to his wife who was killed. That was very significant.
I had a water pipe go in the front yard and my landlord was off traveling somewhere. Two different neighbors got together and dug up my front yard and repaired the leak. When my landlord went to their house to try and give them money they didn’t want to take it because they’d done it to help me out. The landlord insisted so they told him $40 would cover it.
Another neighbor mows my lawn so I don’t have to. It’s been three years now.
The wife of one of the guys that dug up my yard and replaced my broken water line took a day to drive me to a bunch of doctor appointments two hours away a few months ago.
A few years ago when the power went out for a couple of days during the winter a neighbor brought his generator over to my house and hooked it up while he sat at home in the cold and dark.
Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head. I have a lot of people that are very nice to me. I am quite fortunate.
My dad is 80 years old but still insists on taking care of many of his own problems around the yard, though with an eye towards safety and planning. Once a couple years ago he determined that a large branch from a tree overhanging the house needed to go. Dad climbed a ladder to the roof and began to nip away at the branch while Mom took up a position in a lawn chair with a cell phone in case Dad had an accident.
This is out in the country though my parents only live on 2 acres. After awhile a neighbor drove by, looked over, stopped and got out of his truck, alarmed Dad was dealing with this ‘emergency’ by himself. Dad explained it was no emergency, he would take a few days for the project, no big deal.
Fifteen minutes later the neighbor showed up with a big loading tractor and his own chain saw. Within an hour the offending branch was down, chopped up and transported to the backyard burn pile.
Same neighbor helped when a large tree came down in a tropical storm. He showed up with that tractor to chop up the fallen tree, then came back with his ‘big tractor’ to yank the stump and move it all to the burn pile. The guy - whose name eascapes me - is kind of a gentleman farmer. He has a farm, but his real job is that he’s some bigwig at Purdue Chicken in Salisbury.
I have given & taken good efforts with my neighbors over the years. Currently I don’t own a home and the people around me (where I rent) are not very nice, so that is suspended at the moment.
One neighbor at the last place I lived was very helpful with several things, but unfortunately he entered into a business agreement with my now separated wife that I believe was a significant factor in the death of my marriage (he sold her property she could not afford). In the end anything that hastened the end of that marriage was probably a good thing.
My neighbors, Chuck and Deb, are great. Every year, they divide the plants in their yard, and when they discovered that I was adding flower beds, they’d (initially) ask me if I was interested in whatever plant they’d dug up. Of course I was, and now I often come home to find clumps of hostas, or lilies, wooly lambs ears, or different kinds of flowers laying over the fence line. In the past two years, I’ve managed to create several new flower beds in my yard, just by what my neighbors have given to me.
Last Halloween weekend, we had a freak snowstorm move through. Because the trees still had their leaves, branches broke off of many of my trees, including several huge butterfly bushes in my yard. I had tons of broken branches. Chuck volunteered the use of his chipper and showed Hallboy and I how to use it. We chipped every single branch that had fallen, then carefully cleaned the chipper and returned it (full of gas).
During the summer, I’ll often give them zucchini, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or whatever else has been growning in my veggie gardens.
Visitors to my neighborhood are often surprised at how quiet and peaceful everything is in the middle of fairly urban area even in the middle of the day or on a Saturday night. It’s because at any given time half the people there work either late night or graveyard shifts, so everyone works together to accommodate the many work schedules. The only time the neighborhood gets noisy are the big holidays like Christmas/New Years, Cinco de Mayo, and 4th of July and then it gets noisy enough to scare the police.
I just moved onto a quiet residential street where the neighbors talk about being good neighbors. We got a vase and flowers from one, and another offered to trim our dwarf Japanese maple, and another with kids sorta the same age as ours have tons of playdates. It’s nice
I have had some wonderful neighbors in my life. From the recent Iraqi immigrants that used to invite me in for weird-tasting coffee and bring over plates of their food, even though we couldn’t understand a word we said to each other, to the drunk that took out my mailbox and, even though nobody saw him do it, spent half the next day pouring concrete and replacing it. But perhaps the best neighbor I ever had was a Mormon couple who lived in my apartment complex when I was in my early 20s and had two small children under 3. They were the kindest, most loving, most helpful people I had ever met. I still miss them.
We had some neighbors that were just plain weird, but when we first moved into our current neighborhood, they brought over a family meal from the local bbq place.
We also had a neighbor that was a doctor, and she insisted on making housecalls, especially if the kids were sick. The people next to her would plow our driveway when it snowed, and host neighborhood bonfire parties in their backyard.
At a different house, our neighbor sold propane (and propane accessories). He would always check our grill, get us more gas, and replace parts without us asking. When my mom died, they knew we would be busy and have a lot of guests, so they came over in the morning with breakfast for like 25 people (trays and trays of food. Just handed them to us and left).
I’ve been lucky to have mostly decent neighbors and go out of my way to be one. I always tell people, we don’t have to be friends, but let’s at least be neighborly.
In the neighborhood I lived in prior to the one I rent in now, the neighbors (with one exception) were fantastic. When my son got sick, the ones to our left made meals for us for a whole week while we were back and forth to the hospital, and took our other kids to the movies and let them swim in their awesome heated pool any time they wanted to. The neighbors across from us took care of our yard work, also made meals, and took care of our pets. The neighbors down the street checked on us regularly, and offered their services for child or pet watching any time we needed it.
In return, we did lots of things for our neighbors. When a drunk took out the lady next door’s mailbox, almost all the guys in the neighborhood got together, and we cleaned up the mess (it was a brick mailbox) and rebuilt it, good as new, all within a weekend. I took turns with one neighbor mowing the lawn of a disabled vet in the neighborhood, and helping him raise his flags and take them down every night.
We did have one stinker of a neighbor living to the other side of us, but he was an exception to the rule.
My elderly neighbour across the street regularly babysits for my twins so I can take my older boys out. She told me that when she was home with her four boys, years ago, she promised God she would help out young mothers when she was older and had free time.
Our next door neighbour taught my husband to build a deck, helped him do it, and lent him tools.
Some of our other neighbours regularly turn up with bags of hand-me-downs.
Year before last it snowed every fucking three days, on the dot. We didn’t have a snowblower. It got to the point where I would look at my car, buried in another foot or two of heavy snow, and just want to cry. I didn’t even want to look at a shovel. I went from digging a nice clear spot out for my car to digging a tiny little area, just enough to get my car out. My back hurt and I was just miserable about it.
So on the 27th snowstorm or whatever I was out there, slaving away again. Kitty-corner from us the owners were out there, snowblowing. They must have seen me wallowing along, for they called out,
“Do you want us to come help?”
Not wanting to impose, I said,
“Well, thank you, but I think I’m OK…”
They looked at each other and called out
I looked at all the snow left and back at them and said “I can’t say no.” They laughed, and came over to help.
After they did mine, they moved to the house of the old lady across the street. I went over and helped - the guy snowblowed out the driveway and I helped shovel the walk.
They were so nice, and it was only five minutes of their time, but took away 30 or 40 minutes of work for me!
We just moved in here, so we don’t yet have a huge database of good neighbor stories, but so far the neighbors are great. We had a housewarming party and invited the block, and several neighbors showed up with contributions of food or drink. The neighbors across the street mow our yard. Last Saturday, I was out pulling bindweed (YOU SUCK, BINDWEED) from the front yard, and the next-door neighbor brought over a huge container of homemade Louisiana gumbo.
When I came home from the hospital after giving birth, my neighbor Penny brought over dinner that she’d made.
Another neighbor, Jim, once snow-blowed (snow-blew? removed, anyway) four feet of snow off our sidewalks.
My parents have great neighbors too. When their power went out, the neighbors let them use their generator. Also, their little boy used to come over and sit beside my mom while she was gardening. It was sweet.
Another neighbor had a little boy who walked up to the fence behind their house. Mom pointed out her flowers. The little boy left, then returned and showed her his Incredible Hulk action figure.
Within a week of moving in to my house, we had a big snowstorm. The next morning I went out to shovel before leaving for work and discovered the driveway already plowed. It took several months for me to establish who did the good deed. He has also mowed most of my lawn when my mower went on strike. (He didn’t do all the yard and I don’t blame him - the back is known as “the evil hill”.)
For a long time, I let kids slide down the hill each winter but erosion is a problem I constantly fight so now there is a berm with bushes in the way. I mourned the passing of sledding as much as the kids did.
I have to admit though, the neighborhood isn’t nearly as social as the one I grew up in. I blame air conditioning. We just don’t hang around outside to see each other much.
Just this summer: Next door neighbor, Les, helped me build a garden shed. Neighbor across the street, Steve, brought a skid loader and spread the gravel for said shed and built the damn floor while I was at work and couldn’t help at all. He was going to help me build it, but I asked Les instead as Steve had already done way more than enough for me. Neighbor across the alley, Stacy, painted the house for me since I couldn’t find a ‘professional’ to do it. She did a damn good job too (I paid her of course, but still she didn’t have to volunteer at all).
I have some damn good neighbors and am proud to live here.