Having grown up in a rural area, living in the city has an almost unnerving anonymnity to it. Where I grew up, we waved at everyone we passed on the road. When our neighbor's pasture caught on fire, everyone abandoned the community BBQ to go help put out the fire. If you broke down on the side of the road, within three cars, you'd find someone to take you home or get your vehicle running again. People needed each other, and even during a fued, people were there for each other. It was a good place to grow up.
Sometimes I can get homesick for the kind of life again. Rob and I talk about moving to the country and bonding with the neighbors. I think part of it is craving the simpler life, and part of it is romanticizing the simpler life. In any case, sometimes I simply miss the love of neighbors who care for those they know and those they don't know. Periodically, I wonder if those are days gone by, and then there are days like last Wednesday that tell me such neighbors are alive and well and live right down the city street.
The following is the email written by our friend Chris who happens to live across the street from us. He had a horrible week last week, but in such darkness, love shines all the brighter.
For those of you who know him,
I buried my 7 year old dog Smokey last night.
I was walking him and my 15 year old Chow, Cher, last night, when he was hit by a car. On one particular corner there is a little dog that lives across the street that Smokey likes to see. Excited, he tried running over to see him. I stopped him with his leash but he was very excited and spun around and pulled out of his collar, and darted in front of a SUV.
Smokey went peacefully in my hands with me talking to him.
I experienced something I have felt was lost in today's society. Kindness from total strangers. All the cars stopped and blocked the road and got out to help me move him from the road. Many of those same people from the cars, stayed to help me out with comforting him. The neighbors in all the houses came out to help as well. One neighbor took Cher to my friends' Rob and Jerri's house for me. One brought me a board to lay Smokey on and helped me moved him out of the road. One neighbor is a friend of the animal control officer and called them to come assist me. The Police responded to the call too, and I had them cancel the call to animal control when Smokey passed. The police then offered to drive Smokey and me home. Instead a local neighbor brought me a wheelbarrow to push Smokey home in. The police then turned on their hazard lights and followed me home in what amounted to a slow precession home and then helped me get him into the back yard. Rob and Dan, neighborhood friends, were there waiting to help me bury him.
Its been a long time since I have seen that much compassion from total strangers. As sad as the night was, it restored a little faith that people do still care and will help.
Hoping your neighbors are the kind that love friends and strangers so openly........ hoping your neighbors say that of you........