Wednesday, June 26, 2013

2013.06.26 There's Nothing Like a Neighbor

There’s probably nothing more precious than a real neighbor, by which I mean someone who literally lives next door, not the figurative far-off neighbor we are all invited to love, but secretly fear.

I grew up on biblical food, the most frequently served up was: Love your neighbor as yourself, that is, in the same way you love yourself—an obviously specious commandment—deceptively easy, and taking a lifetime to get half right.

Still, try it out.

Our literal neighbor recently bought a basil plant for herself. It needed some sun that day so she put it over on our stoop. When we came home there it was. But was it ours? Did we forget we bought it? Or maybe it was hers and she forgot it? Or perhaps she bought it for us as a gift?  What do do with a lost basil?

We claimed it; Dick, while I cheered from the sidelines, repotted it and put it back on our stoop.  The next day it was gone. 

After a flurry of emails filled with: “I thought you...” “And then we...” “If you love it keep it...” and “Oh we couldn’t do that, it’s yours...”, a conclusion was reached, and a mystery solved.

Resolution happened in person over the hose. Our neighbor watered and Dick pressed for details and facts like the good lawyer he’s become. Laughter sealed the deal: it was her plant repotted by her neighbor...therefore..............

We will share the basil and its savory gifts.

There’s nothing more precious than a neighbor even if you seldom speak or see each other. Because when you do, it feels as if you’ve always known each other well simply because you live next door and provide a mutual neighborly cushion of care.