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Carless- Day Seventeen -Good Neighbor

We’d put five miles on our shoes by noon, looking at one rental and failing to find a second. Once home, Amy found the second place’s address: up an impossibly long hill. Yesterday, as I was trudging up the twenty eight percent grade on our street, our neighbor stuck his head out and gave me a round of applause because he’s a smart-ass. “Keep up the good work, David!” he cheered.

”Hey,” he continued, “if you need a lift anywhere for a beer run or to look at a place, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m just hanging around here.”

I thanked him. This neighbor was responsible for us moving into this place in the first place, and he’s just as heartbroken about our leaving as I am. A retired software engineer, schoolteacher, and former Naval Lieutenant, he’s my brother from a different mother.

Even so, I only reluctantly called to ask if he could run us up the hill in his car to look at this second rental. “Sure,” he replied. “Meet you out front at ten ‘till.” And there he was.

On the way back, I asked if he could take a slight detour to a little store nearby. He agreed, waiting in the car while I went inside. We both knew what I was buying. He was properly delighted with my purchase, as he has been delighted in the past whenever the ‘beer fairy’ would leave surreptitious six-packs on his front porch.

The adverts for rental houses mention everything but the neighbors, so when I speak with landlords, I always ask. A good neighbor loves to watch the cats when we’re traveling and offers a little encouragement when he sees me trudging up some steep slope through the swelter. Carless, I can do— with a little help. Neighborless, not.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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