Like a Good Neighbor (by Hannah Alexander)

This is not a State Farm commercial.

Friends, meet our yard below. Yes, the grass really was knee high last night. I checked it, and my legs are not short. I could honestly use the excuse that I love the look of the wildflowers that bloom in the spring, and so we wait until long after everyone else has mowed their yard before cutting our blooming purple weeds, but our neighbors, for some reason, don’t like dandelions, which grow very well this time of year if you let them. I, on the other hand, think they’re pretty in all their forms, especially when they look like piles of tiny snowballs nestled in the thick green grass.

After a while, however, the stares from some of the passersby on the street begin to affect me and I suggest Mel needs to get the lawn mower out and make a run over the grass. That’s pretty much how it worked this year, too, because, even though we have four lawn mowers, neither Mel nor I have an engineering degree, and I think that’s what it takes to keep a lawn mower working. Oh, sure, like we’re supposed automatically know how to change the oil and air the tires? So with four flat tires and two mowers that wouldn’t start, it took Mel a few tries. He got there a week or so ago. Make that two weeks. Maybe a little more, but honestly, this picture is a good depiction of how quickly our grass grows in Southern Missouri in springtime.

Then the rains happened. It seemed even the surprising May snow this spring made the grass shoot up, much to my dismay. Life has been frantic in our household, with Mel working two jobs and me working two books. We don’t get out much.

Two days ago, one neighbor who owns the duplex behind us mowed his yard. I watched, while working from the sunroom, while he made several long passes into the far end of our backyard. Dandelion puffs went flying. It was a beautiful sight. What a sweet man. He cut nearly one quarter of our yard. I was humbled and embarrassed.

Then last night, Mel and I had just taken a brief break and walked through the remaining grass when we ran into our next-door neighbor. He and Mel started talking, and I came back inside to get to work. Mel came in a few moments later, and then I heard a mower outside our window.

“Honey,” I asked. “I thought you said you wanted to mow tomorrow night.”

“I did, but Gary asked if I’d be offended if he mowed it tonight.”

“Oh. And of course you said you wouldn’t mind at all.”

“Well, I did tell him I was planning to mow, but I guess he was just in the mood. He likes to use our deep grass as mulch for his garden.”

“Well, then, that’s good. Right?”

“Sweetheart,” he said as he leaned over his computer to study a medical manual online, “we have wonderful neighbors.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t happen all the time. Maybe once a year…or twice. We often get so caught up in our own little worlds that we don’t realize we’re falling behind, so our neighbors help us out. We try to return the favor. Mel will give an occasional free adjustment in the clinic. I’ll help someone write an important letter. It’s just one more thing I love about our tiny community. We really do help each other, just like good neighbors.



About alexanderhodde

I love to write, I love to read (in that order) and I love to hike. My husband loves to fly remote control model airplanes, when he can get them into the air.
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