Good neighbors are worth a lot. Looking back, I think every place we have lived we have had some good neighbors. There may be a few neighbors that are not are as friendly and helpful as others, but we have been fortunate over the years to live beside some good ones.
As I reflect back on neighbors I have lived beside, I think of those things that we and they do to be a good neighbor. Something as simple as a smile or cheery, "Good morning" or, "Good afternoon" when you see each other out in the yard is a friendly gesture.
Being friendly and taking time to visit when you are out in the yard together in good weather is enjoyable.
Lots of topics can come up during those times sitting out in the yard in the shade. They might be about the weather, exchanging ideas about plants, some good barbecue recipes and many more. Or taking time to stop in at their house when the weather is not so good to say hi and ask how the day is going for them helps break up long, gloomy days.
One of our present neighbors is a lover of plants. Laurie is out buying them or transplanting as soon as the weather is good. Or she may be bringing some extra ones over for us. We don't try to grow the number of plants that they do, but we do have some that self-propagate and have extra so we take them over to her.
They live across the street from us and, since we are a bit older than they are, they keep watch over what goes on at our house to be sure we are OK. We do the same for them. In our neighborhood, we tend to watch each other's homes to be sure everything is in order. Neighborhood security is important with the problems in society today.
During this bitter cold, snowy weather we have had, when they go out to their mailbox to get their mail, they often bring ours over to us. As I was writing this, they called over and said they were going to be gone for a couple of days and asked us to get their mail and paper for them. We were happy to do that because they have done the same for us.
Some years ago, I had a walk-behind Gravely snow plow that did a good job of plowing snow. Because of the design, I could plow snow that the riding tractors had trouble handling. One of the good neighbors that I was living beside had a riding plow and he had problems in heavy snow getting an opening down his driveway. So I would go over and open it up for him so he could handle small "bites" to get his plowed. He didn't want me to plow his entire driveway and make his tractor look bad!
We've had a couple of neighbors that, like us, enjoyed homemade ice cream. We both had freezers and would often, sometimes at the spur of the moment, decide to get together and share some good homemade ice cream. Thankfully, our freezers had electric motors so we didn't have to hand crank them.
When we have a neighbor that isn't very friendly, we have tried to carefully let them know we are there to help them if they need something. Being a good neighbor also means respecting those who, for whatever reason, want their privacy. There can be reasons for being quiet, private neighbors.
Other ways of being a good neighbor include keeping your property neat, don't let your outside dog bark all night and more.
Then, as I am finishing this, neighbor Laurie came over with a big bowl of fresh soup she had just made and had some extra. She also took some to neighbor Norma, who recently had foot surgery and is confined inside her home.
Yes, we are thankful for good neighbors!
Parker is an independent writer for the Tribune.