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How I Learned to Love My Literal Neighbors
Image: Courtesy of Karen Swallow Prior

How I Learned to Love My Literal Neighbors

Sometimes it's easier to love people in the abstract.

When my husband and I were getting ready to move from Buffalo, New York, to rural Virginia, where I'd taken a job, we wanted to bring as little as possible. We held a big garage sale during our final three days in our house of seven years, the ...

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Marcia Bosscher

August 07, 2013  2:40pm

Thank you, Karen! It can take time but is so worth it, this neighborliness.When my husband and I moved into a small house in Madison with two small children, our first encounters with the gruff, chain-smoking widow next door were anything but friendly. Our children, used to university housing, were oblivious to lot lines. She took them very seriously. Over the years we became, if not friendly, certainly cordial. But one summer, when we were just too busy to keep up the lawn, she took it upon herself to mow ours as well as hers, not once, but three times. I read it as judgement and begged her not to do it-how can you let a 75 year old widow mow your lawn? The first time, I brought over a six-pack of her favorite beer, the second time a loaf of homemade bread, each time begging her not to mow, promising we would get to it. The third time I ran out when I heard the mower, pleading with her that we truly would get it done. Her response? "How else do you tell neighbors you love 'em?"

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Nance Wabshaw

August 07, 2013  1:42pm

Thank you for the reminder that it is up to us to create community.

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