We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor. - GKC
We know our neighbors on one side. Not well, but enough to chat, and to offer help when needed. The wives are both outdoor types, always puttering about in the yard, so there is regular contact. When an ice storm knocked out our power, the husband came over to help rig up a generator. When he got sick we were the back-ups for rides to treatments.
We know their names.
But we did not make friends with them.
On the other side are the new neighbors. New - as in they've lived there for only four years.
We occasionally nod in passing. But no conversations per se. I did bid them welcome when they arrived. And once when their dog got loose I took it back over. That's about it. We rarely see them go outside. When they do, it's for some utilitarian purpose, like mowing the lawn. Then they disappear.
We don't know their names.
I suppose that is unfriendly of us. We could probably be better neighbors ourselves. But I'm kind of reclusive myself.
We did not make frinds, or enemies. We're just neighbors.
I do know their dog. She's a friendly beast. A tail-wagger who always used to come up to the fence to greet our tail-wagging dog, and to get a scritch on the head from me.
I know the dog's name.
Now there's a second dog.
We don't know if this one is a temporary, or a permanent resident.
But this dog barks. Constantly.
Open our bedroom window.
Open our back door - on the other side of the house.
Pull in the driveway.
And go out to the yard to do some work - or chat with the neighbors we know.
And worst of all, the other dog, the tail-wagger, has now picked up the habit.
We don't want to complain - and make enemies.
At times it's hard to remember that God did make neighbors. Especially when it comes to reclusive ones with barking dogs.
I sometimes think Frost had it right: Good fences make good neighbors.
Too bad it can't be soundproofed fences.
But God left it up to us to make those.
Poem: The Sword of Surprise
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