I love my neighborhood.
The street is more like an extension of the driveway as far as the kids are concerned. We tell them not to go into the road, but Sarah sometimes looks at me like I’m crazy. She knows there are no cars coming, and if there were, they would be driven by people who are watching out for her and Aubrey. And nine times out of 10, the car would be driven by someone who would stop in the road to chat.
Neighbors knock on friendly doors that are probably not locked. There are even a few neighbors with whom we’re so close we just knock and keep walking as we turn the knob and let ourselves in. They have a key to our house. We have one to theirs. But who needs a key when we know how to get into their house any time we want without one and have an invitation to do so if we ever need anything from milk to a hammer to a place to just stand in peace for a moment.
My grandparents lived in this neighborhood for many moons. Mam-ma knew each person, animal and car that ever turned this way. She took cakes and pies to the neighbors for no reason. She knew all the things people thought were secret and was glad to make sure they didn’t stay that way. Pap-pa fed the squirrels, helped people when they needed it and kept a close eye on his yard and any kids who might think about leaving footprints or tire marks in the grass.
The kids, their parents and pretty much anyone else were welcome here. Their yard-disturbing ways were not.
The neighborhood is different than it was when my grandparents first moved here, but some things never change. There’s still older people and younger families. People go to work and come home. The mailman comes at a certain time each day. The trash man says a friendly, “hello” when he stops by to pull the can to the street. Neighbors notice when something out of the ordinary is going on, and when someone is in need, there will most likely be an offer of help.
Maybe it’s just our little circle of love down here on the end, but this street is more like a family than a neighborhood. We don’t just live in our house. We live in this neighborhood, and this neighborhood lives in us. I love our corner of the world and the wonderful people who help us raise our kids, watch out for people who don’t belong and meet in the yard to talk about family, work or nothing in particular.
Our neighbors are our extended family, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.