Love My Neighbor

The late 1970s Toyota truck cap sits alongside my neighbor’s backyard patio under 6 inches of snow. Fifteen years I could see it from my kitchen window. It could be the makings of a picture postcard. Four seasons of truck cap. Spring rains washing off the winter storms. Sunlight hitting the windows, heating up the metal to a sizzle. Red, brown, and gold leaves settling on the roof, marking it with their decaying shapes. And then, the snow again. Four neat little photos on the cover of a card; a nice juxtaposition.

My neighbors are odd and good.  They love each other very much; the parents and children spend time together and heal and promote each other at every turn. They do not dress to impress. On the contrary; threadbare and well-worn sometimes defines them. The broken gnomes and chipped rabbit statues on the front landscape must freak out the image-conscious neighbor that lives across the street.

Another neighbor once ran over to the wife as she was putting out her trash bags on the curb. He yelled at her that she was bringing down the neighborhood with all those trash bags she uses. Many times she throws out the trash in the Target bags from her shopping trip. Would he be happier if she only used Saks Fifth Avenue bags? Or bought scented Hefty bags? I give her some points for recycling those old bags anyway.

But I like these neighbors. I wave when I see them, talk to them, and enjoy their company. I could have done much worse than these people next door.

Last summer my husband and I were enjoying a late afternoon on the backyard patio lawn chairs. From our peripheral vision we saw someone moving near the edge of our yard. It was the truck cap neighbors. They asked if we would take their picture in front of this large burning bush that lies near the border of our yard and our other neighbor’s yard. So we took their picture.

This bush is an old plant about eight feet wide and seven feet high. It happens that they take a few pictures near this bush every year. It’s not in their yard but they think it is beautiful. In the fall, the deep red color is awesome. Sometimes their kids are with them. This time they were alone.

By the way, the owner of said burning bush also likes these folks, so they have at least two allies in all this.

They got so much joy for so many years from this simple plant. No charge, just free appreciation.

Today I saw a bright red cardinal in the center of this bush outside my window. I stopped and enjoyed the view.

My neighbors asked if we wanted to have them take our picture in front of the burning bush. We said no since we were a little confused over the whole idea at the time. If they asked me today, I may say yes.

I could learn a thing or two from my neighbors.


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