Friday, January 06, 2006

Love thy neighbor

I love my neighbors. I really do.

Right now I particularly love the guy up the road who plows my driveway. Only last month I learned that he plows only for me and the guy on the other side of me. Still, for a guy with his own excavating business and a couple of small side jobs, you could not ask for a more committed and responsible service provider.

I am a happy customer, whose response yesterday tipped over into sheer joy and exhilaration. I have been struggling with a big pile of ice in front of my garage, and after days of shoveling and chipping, I gave up, leaving a barrier the size of three stacked speed bumps—or sleeping policemen, as they would say in Jamaica—still blocking the entrance to my garage. When I came home for the puppy’s lunchtime break from her kennel, it occurred to me that if I left the garage door open then the plow guy might be able to whack the icy barrier. Or shove it. Or something. I even thought about placing a phone call, but, as usual I got distracted.

When I came home last night—oh, joy!—it worked. There was a clean, flat surface where three policemen used to sleep. I drove my car into the garage, closed the door and called to leave a message that I am sure my neighbor and his family will giggle over. Why shouldn’t they giggle? And why shouldn’t they share my delight that I have figured out one more little thing that—with my neighbors’ help--makes winter in Vermont a little easier?

I am also pretty fond of the couple down the road who brought me the most spectacular platter of Christmas cookies that I have ever seen. Something of a cookie snob, I was impressed with the variety of shapes, the amount of detail work, and the use of real butter. We cookie snobs can tell. These are people I have met once, but in Vermont proximity can be enough to make neighbors, and thoughtful care and simple kindness are often offered without thought of return.

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