Seven months. That’s how long I’ve lived here at my new home. I go to work every day before most of my neighbors are probably awake, and I return after most of them have even eaten their dinner. I drive into my garage, wave at those in my immediate court who have made me feel welcome, check my mail, chat with them a few minutes, and head into the house just minding my own business. I eat my dinner, and then may or may not do a load of laundry, unload my backpack, and prepare it for the next day’s work. Before I go to bed, usually I make my lunch for the next day, pack my car back up for morning, and always make a point to sit on my porch and enjoy the peace and quiet. It’s so much more peaceful here than my old home.
On Friday some friends came over for dinner. I’d been looking forward to having them for quite some time. They helped me move, and quite frankly – I’ve missed them being nearby. When asked how I liked the new place, of course I told them how much I love it, but that I missed some of my neighbors who came by so frequently. It was common for my sons’ friend David to just stop by after work on an almost daily basis for a quick visit. And Cassandra frequently came over to chat as well. And there was Cheri and “the pope” Tom across the street, Tony and Marcy, and the other board members I’d served with for many years. I miss them too! Aside from my immediate neighbors, I’ve not met anyone.
Until today, that is.
This morning I needed to run out to CVS. Along the way, I noticed that people had begun taking their garbage out already, so I turned around and went home to get mine. One less thing to do tonight, I thought. I’m one person. I don’t have a lot of garbage. I took it out, and headed to CVS. There was a woman standing glaring at me with her hands on her hips while I was putting it out, so I waved… and, nothing. Off to CVS I headed.
Twenty minutes. That’s about how long I was gone. And when I pulled up to my garage, there was my garbage, waiting for me in front of the door. How in the world did she get my address? Back to the corner I went. And once again, there she was – hands on hips, with a look that could kill. Once again, I waved. Once again, nothing.
A little while later, in walked David for a visit, just like old times. We sat on the couch catching up, and suddenly two women appeared on my porch. I went out to see what they needed. They introduced themselves to me as board members, so I assumed they were looking at the door wall I requested permission to replace. But they were not there to look at my door wall. They came to tell me that the woman with the hands on her hips had actually opened up my garbage, found a piece of my mail, and called the board to report me for taking my garbage out to the street – not my street, but her street. She was “very, very upset,” according to the board members. They educated me, and waited while I retrieved the garbage and returned it promptly to my garage.
Was I wrong? Apparently. But there is a way to do things, and then, there’s a way not to do things. I always told my sons that in life – God will provide you with many people who set a good example of how to live, how to behave, and how to treat others. But He will also provide you with many examples of how not to live, how not to behave, and how not to treat others. It is unfortunate – but these examples will be just as valuable. Well, God allows the very same for us adults.
What’s my point?
Well, first of all – for the love of God, just be kind? It’s really NOT that doggone difficult. One day just before I moved into this little place, a neighbor came out and introduced herself. She told me of a small gathering she has each night outside in the court, and she invited me, and that invite is a standing one for each night of the week. And night after night, some of the sweetest, feistiest, funniest, and kindest people gather outside just to giggle, visit, and share their lives… just like the days of my youth!
Today, I’m grateful I moved into Lordstown Court (but you won’t find my address, because I just bought a shredder). I am grateful for these neighbors of mine who are kind and welcoming. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to meet board members and neighbors face to face – I’m just sorry that they were bothered on a weekend by such nonsense. I’m sorry that my taking the garbage to the wrong corner was upsetting enough to someone that it apparently consumed their day. That poor thing. (I think she needs some gummy bears, don’t you?)
I’m grateful that God continues to put people in my life who provide good examples for me to follow, but I’m also grateful for those who remind me of how NOT to treat people. There’s a way to go about things…
Oh, and I’m also thankful for the shredder I just ordered on Amazon. Never again will I throw out a piece of mail, and neither should you. I still cannot believe anyone would go digging through anyone else’s garbage, but apparently, I’m wrong! Ewww, just ewww! (This is also why you should carry hand sanitizer in your purse. You don’t know where people’s hands have been!)
My book club girlfriends and I are currently reading “Aging With Grace,” by Sharon W. Betters and Susan Hunt. It’s an excellent book, and has helped make me more and more aware of some of the wiser, older people currently in my life, as well as those I come across as a hospice nurse. Even those who are confused and no longer are able to care for themselves, unknowingly have a bit of wisdom to share, as they teach us what matters as we near the end of our earthly lives. They wander the halls of memory care facilities looking for their parents, and their children – not their wallets or their riches.
I have a good example to share at book club tonight, and a reminder to me to… not only shred personal sensitive information, but also to go out of my way – the way that Sharon, Bill, Shirley, Ida, Chrissy, and Marshall have… and welcome those who are new 😉
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a lawn chair, and I’m headed out to the court for a nightly neighborhood visit before my book club starts.