We met one of our neighbors over the weekend. Which, on the face of it, shouldn’t be that unusual. But we’ve been in our townhome nine months now and so far we’ve only met the couple who lives next door to us. And that was only after I knocked on their door to offer our parking place (they appeared to be planning for a party, which turned out to be a baby shower).
When we moved into the culdesac of townhomes, I was certain we would soon get to know all the neighbors. After all, being retired I’m home most of the day, I walk up to get the mail at the community mailbox, I take the trash out twice a week. Surely we would be getting to know our neighbors soon, even if this is a community in which everyone seems to work during the day.
Our previous home was a single family split level in a small community. For a time I had served on the Home Owners Association. Whenever there was a major snow storm or other weather-related event, the neighbors would all be out either shoveling driveways and sidewalks, or walking thru the neighborhood looking for storm damage. And as an association member, I met a lot of people at our community festivals. It seemed natural to me then that we would soon know everyone in our new community. Not so.
Deb and I were napping in the living room when I heard a knock at the door. We have a doorbell so I just ignored the sound. But a few minutes later, they nocked again, a little louder, a bit more insistent. Since I’m not very mobile while recovering from surgery, Deb had to get up and check the door. She was met with a woman standing there holding several plastic bags, her purse, and something covered in a dish towel.
Allison, our neighbor three doors down, explained that she had been wanting to meet the “new neighbors” for sometime now but hadn’t found a convenient time. She explained that she hadn’t seen us for several days and thought perhaps something was up?
But this really floored me: she handed us a fresh-baked loaf of sourdough bread, carefully wrapped in a towel, as a “welcome to the neighborhood” gift. Who does that anymore? I asked if she was from the Midwest but she said no, from the Seattle, Washington area. That explained the sourdough bread, which she explained was her “go-to” bakery gift item. My favorite, I exclaimed!
She stayed for twenty minutes or so, we learned about their family, shared about what drew us to the area and why we were downsizing, and expressed how we hoped to be better neighbors.
We got a chance to really meet a neighbor, and as life would have it, they are getting ready to move.
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31