Please, Won’t You be My Neighbor?

fenceLast week the hubs and I lost our best neighbors. They had pre-warned us a couple years back that they were on the way out and planned to sell their place, but I admit we selfishly hoped they’d change their minds. Especially when they put the house up for sale and literally NOBODY looked at it. It was the oddest mix of glee and annoyance for us; glee that they would be staying awhile longer, annoyance on their behalf that nobody was looking at their place, which is super nice! We had many evening conversations about our neighbors, and what it would mean for us when they left. It’s exceedingly hard to live next door to someone for 12 years and not feel loss when they move away.
There’s an old saying that good fences make good neighbors. I agree with the gist of the statement. Good neighbors know how to watch out for each other, but they also know when to mind their own business. Ours were pros at the Good Neighbor Game. We spoke when we needed to, left each other alone for the most part, and ALWAYS watched out for each other. Good neighbors call to check on you if they know you’ve been sick. They bring you tomatoes when their vines are overproducing. They tell you if a storm’s coming to just go on and get in their storm shelter, no need to call first. They offer to have the guy with the bobcat clear your driveway too, in the aftermath of Snowmageddon. They tell you if your dog is running loose, they check your mail when you’re on vacation and they never fail to toss up a friendly wave when you see them across the yard on a Sunday afternoon. In the last 12 years we’ve been through weddings, births, deaths, bad weather, potluck dinners, birthday parties, fireworks shows, concerts and so much more with our neighbors. At one point my neighbor lady and I even worked together, sitting in a tiny office two days a week handling accounting and having a great time. All this while never having a fence between us.
They’ve only been gone a week and already their presence is missed. The feel of our street is different. The vibes emanating from next door are different. It’s a tough adjustment after a dozen years of knowing another family’s patterns. What will I do this spring when I can’t tell what time it is, just by hearing our neighbor leave for work on his Harley? Will the renters take the cue when we mow our lawn that it’s time for them to mow theirs, so we get the effect of one giant park-like yard? What will their pets be like? The unknowns of new neighbors!
You’d think that would be pretty easy to convince someone great to move in, considering there are at least four places for sale within a mile of me. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you I’ve basically been browbeating them to death for the last decade, trying every tactic I can think of to get them to move here. Make no mistake, I have my own selfish motives, largely having to do with needing a larger pool of local friends with which to have coffee and girl talk and generally screw around doing all the stuff grown women like to do. But I have noble motivations as well, most notably the fact that I think Claremore is a great place to live and raise a family. So it would make sense that I want the people I love to come here and be as happy as I am. I think my pitch needs work though; so far, no takers. 

So if you’re looking for new digs, come on out east of town and drive the county roads. You’ll need a passenger to write down or photograph all the places for sale because they’re about as thick as fleas on a dog’s backside. We need an infusion of new, awesome neighbors. C’mon Claremore – our town is full of great people! Someone come live next door! Just be aware that if you buy the 19 acres next to me, you’re gonna find dirt bike ruts in your pasture. And driveway. And the creek bottom. But we’re awesome neighbors, so you won’t mind, right?
by Julie Jones

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