I’m in a long, skinny neighborhood. It’s a mile long, and 2 yards wide. My street meanders alongside a small river, and in the late 50’s a developer ran a road part-way down, carved out lots on each side of it, and built houses. Later on, he ran it the rest of the mile to the road on the next section line, so you could drive thru. The same thing happened on the other side of the river. Lots of houses built over the last 40 years or so, and a rich mixture of architecture and styles. On the back side of both roads are farm fields that rotate through corn, soybeans, wheat, and so on.
On one side of our place is a middle school teacher and her local community health service bureaucrat husband. Great people, and she has a garden in the back yard that she lovingly tends all summer long. We get free produce of whatever she has too much of to can and/or eat that week, unless the deer get it first. Once she saw me practicing in the back yard with my bow, and asked if I would shoot a few deer so they wouldn’t raid her garden so often. Seriously - fresh venison from the back yard!
Across the street is the retired speaker of the state house and his crazy wife. He’s looked upon as an elder statesman of the local democratic party. His wife, on the other hand, is the party’s Avenging Angel. A few years ago, Jeffrey Feiger (Jack Kevorkian’s lawyer) ran for governor here in Michigan. The wife swore this was the best thing that could ever happen for the state. Her husband rolled his eyes, and once he won the primary, quietly said he’d probably vote for him. Still, she’s great with the kids in the area, and she’s often leading the pack of rollerbladers up and down the street in warm weather. She also hosts the coffee klatch on her front porch on those lazy summer evenings.
Next door to them is a guy I worked with and went to college with, and didn’t see for 17 years until I moved in across the street from him. On the other side of our house are two gay guys and the 2 kids from one’s previous marriage. Both are wonderful cooks, and one taught the vietnamese owner of a local restaurant his recipe for egg-drop soup. She said his soup was better than hers. Both are absolutely willing to drop everything and help me paint a room, fix the car, anything I want. Oh, they also have a big garden. More free veggies!
On the other side of these guys is a guy that built his own house. He subcontracted out a lot of it, but he put in gallons of sweat to get it up. It took about a year and a half from “hole in the ground” to “hello, we’re you’re new neighbors”. All that is left to do is the yard and some landscaping, and it’ll be great.
Up and down the street are kids from newborn to college age. My son sold a ton of cub scout popcorn to these neighbors. All summer long I see kids on bikes, rollerbladers, parents and grandparents walking, and deer in the back yard. We really like it, and I hope we’re here for 20 years, at least!