A Father's Lesson never forgotten

Spring had come and my dad held my hand, I was about to turn 7 years old and it was the first time I had ever been able to walk to school even if it wasn't by myself. I felt like skipping and running and hopping and yet my dad held onto my hand tightly until we had crossed the busy street and veered down a quiet roadway. The street was lined with nicely painted homes each with neatly manicured lawns. I walked on the sidewalk and then felt my dad let go of my hand. Immediately I began to skip ahead of him. Not too far ahead of him but just enough ahead to make me feel like a big girl. I twirled and just as I came full circle I felt my foot leave the concrete and sink into the lush green lawn. At the same time I heard the stern voice of my father crack the glee and declare. "Donna, get off that lawn" I looked up to see his displeasure and although I knew it was an accident from carelessness I prepared for a scolding. "You must never ever walk on someone's lawn" he said "that is disrespectful and it is not your property, do you understand" he said. "yes daddy" I murmured and I never stepped foot on anyone's lawn again.

Even today I will carefully walk around a front yard and up a walk or driveway even if I have been invited by a friendly neighbor to chat instead of taking a quicker route that would have me walk on their property.

This experience from over 50 years ago keeps playing in my head today and has been playing in my head for a couple of weeks now. Let me begin.

I have lived in the house I live in now for thirteen years. During that time I have enjoyed the company of a lovely neighbor in a perfect neighborhood. It has been the best place I have ever lived, in fact even though it is in the city I prefer it over any of the numerous homes in which I have had the privilege to live.

That is until now.

A few months ago that home that belonged to my lovely neighbor sold. When she moved out  I was excited to meet the new neighbors who moved in. They were bustling to get unpacked when I first noticed items that were being neatly staged in the once unobstructed garage.  Pieces of neatly stacked used carpeting, worn wood, extra kitchen cabinet drawers from a previous home, milk crates with odds and ends and more milk crates and more milk crates still were being brought in to the garage until there was no more room except for the last decorative embellishment. A beautiful 2008 used calendar!

Now,  I always loved to move because it gave me a chance to purge my clutter and old stuff. In fact I think the 2008 calendar certainly would have been in my paper recyclables before I had come to a new home, but now it sits in a garage with all that stuff and it  has a new home leaving the cars to remain outside.

As days went by, more and more embellishments decorated the area around my neighbors home. Potted plants await spring, or so I surmise and they have been carefully left as close to my home as possible for me to enjoy. It seems so unfortunate for the people who own them not to be able to see them, for their view is obstructed from their windows by the beautiful hemlock hedge. The plant material and  bins and other yard ornamentation that adorn the exterior of the garage cannot be enjoyed by them. The garage door remains open daily and now things that do not fit inside stand guard like sentries. I do wish the left side door was either opened or closed instead of ajar. I am such a neat freak.

Christmas has come and gone but I must say it has been delightful this season. I would awaken each morning and peer out of my window with anticipation and excitement to see where the trailer has been moved to. It felt like I had my own personal Elf on a Shelf, for I never knew where it would end up! Sometimes it was behind a car, or beside a car, or in front of a car or even on the front lawn filled with yet more carpet scraps! It was and still is beautiful and fun for the kids too!

Yesterday, I was excited to see yet a new vehicle arrive. It was bright red like Santa's sleigh and filled with goodies! It had curved white grid work like the runners on a sleigh or antlers on a reindeer that perched high above the truck to hold even more items! I was overjoyed to learn that a new adult elf moved in to that home  adding to the people living now there. He made it a total of three adult families living in a single family home. Jolly good times I recon to be had by all.

I still hold true to the idea of being a friendly and considerate neighbor so, after the snowfall my hubby and I donned our winter apparel and grabbed some shovels and began to embark on our winter ritual. One throw of the white fluffy stuff over our shoulders after another finally paid off. As we continued to shovel, the young elf who is only 21, and his papa came out side to greet  us. They had great big friendly smiles on their faces and held cups of hot coffee in their mittened hands. They chatted with us the entire time, until we were finished shoveling, making the work go faster. Hubby and I straightened up, backs stiff and shoulders heavy and as we looked down the driveway at a job well done, we smiled knowingly at one another. We had shoveled the entire 150' driveway!

Oh did I forget to mention something. I told you we live in the city remember? But did I tell you this. We share a driveway!

I don't think the new neighbors realize that a shared driveway means  shared work and respect for each others property and boundaries too, for as we shoveled around their cars and trailer in order to get our own cars access to the roadway they did walk out of our way as not to impede our progress. Now I know why after 100 years why they wanted us to sign and agreement before they bought the house. They may have anticipated that we may have wanted to put up a privacy  fence and now we cannot!

It is going to be a different sort of New Year....I resolve to make myself happy one way or another!

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