That’s What Neighbors Do

Well, the Trump supporting wife beater moved out of the house across the street taking his Trump sign with him.  They are renting the house to his wife’s son and daughter in law,  a young couple with a 2 or 3 year old girl, a cat, and a retriever-type dog.  I had high hopes for them until the young man hung a large Confederate flag from the front of house.

The other day another neighbor and I spotted the girl, the cat, and the dog running around  without any supervision.  The girl was happy as could be running into the other yards, with the dog doing its own exploration and the cat lying down in the middle of the street.  The neighbor grabbed the dog and the girl while I rang the doorbell to inform them that everyone was loose. The cat had already sauntered back to safety.  The mom was mortified and thanked us profusely. The little girl had just learned to open the gate to the back yard, and took advantage of her new skill.

A day or so later, the dad came over while I was in the front yard. He again thanked me and said they were so grateful we had noticed their daughter and animals, and offered to do any heavy yard work I might need done as a thank you. I told him that wasn’t necessary, as what we did was just what neighbors do. He seemed puzzled about that. He didn’t seem to understand that neighbors help without expectation of recompence .He also spoke with a southern twang, so he is evidently not from around here.

I suppose I could have asked him to take down the flag, but if he doesn’t  understand the concept of being neighborly, he might not have understood the request. I will just hope for other opportunities to show kindness.

What sort of flag would be a good response to the flag across the street? Tell about some of your more memorable neighbors. 

27 thoughts on “That’s What Neighbors Do”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Oh, Renee. This situation sounds like an ongoing post topic.

    We have had an extremely stable neighborhood for the 20 years we have lived here. This year 3 THREE houses have turned over, selling to young families with children. The last of those three sold Monday.

    Duane and Donna lived one door down from us. When we arrived home from AZ this March, we discovered Duane had died that day we returned, having been hospitalized only the last month of his life after a stroke. He was 83 or 84. Donna became confused and moved to Assisted Living a month ago.

    2 weeks ago there was an estate sale. We knew Duane, but Donna rarely came out of the house, nor did they ever invite anyone in, which is quite different that the neighborly norm—we are a social, friendly neighborhood. Therefore, all of us neighbors enthusiastically attended the sale.

    We found rooms full of pink porcelain dolls, and carpets stained with dog pee. Every table lamp was embellished with very large, dolling pink figurines. Each mirror was in an elaborate gold frame. Lou mumbled to me that the house was decorated in “Early French Whorehouse” style. I agreed.

    Last week the carpet was replaced. I went to Iowa for the weekend. When I returned the sold sign was up. So now we await the new neighbors. So far all the new buyers have been wonderful. I hope the streak remains in place.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We have one set of nieghbors on our dead end road. And they’re still over a mile from us but in the country, anyone within about 10 miles is a “neighbor”.
    That’s changed a little as the ‘city’ folk have moved out. nothing against ‘city folk’, I don’t mean it that way, it’s just different is all.
    But our road neighbors are great. Rick and Betty watch our house and animals if we’re gone and we watch theirs when they’re gone. And they have a wonderful house so it’s always a pleasure to go over there and admire her books and furniture.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My Saint Paul bungalow sat in a neighborhood that was remarkably friendly and free of conflict. i had great relationships with my two next-door neighbors and with the gay couple across the street. Everyone got along. We had neighborhood parties in the summer.

    The neighbors were also white, with no exceptions. When a black guy moved in with his girlfriend two doors to the west of my place, I made sure to welcome him. That was the culture of our block of Juliet Ave.

    Then a guy across the street moved to the suburbs and rented his home to an African-American family that obviously came from a different sub-culture. They just didn’t fit in. At first, I and other neighbors was embarrassed by not liking them. And yet racial prejudice wasn’t the reason. They were aggressive and unfriendly toward other neighbors. The family was large. In summer they sat in chairs on the lawn playing loud music and having loud arguments with each other. Our formerly crime-free neighborhood saw a sudden spike in burglaries. The woman across the street had two break-ins that could only have been done by someone entering her home from the rented home.

    All of this made this old liberal acutely unhappy and ashamed of my own values. I have always mocked the white obsession with “property values,” but suddenly i became concerned about the value of my home because this family was doing everything that might scare off anyone considering joining the neighborhood. I began locking my doors, which was remarkable because I had never done so before in any home in any neighborhood.

    The family quickly got into trouble with city government for various infractions, and maybe three months after moving in they were forced to leave. I stopped locking up. I was delighted to lose those neighbors, but I felt sorry for the neighborhood they must have moved into. And I was left wondering about my own values. It didn’t take much to turn this old liberal into an anxious old conservative worried about property values. The whole incident was painful for me. Still is.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. We used to have a nice little confab around my patio. Woman above me quite smoking when it was banned. Now she is never out there. A peculiar but interesting woman. Woman next to me I see often but she does not read on her patio right now. Apartment above and to my left has new tenants. Black Muslim family with three small children who have become my buddies, but they are not out often.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I bet your new neighbors would love it if you were to fly the rainbow flag.

    A young bi-racial couple live across the street from us. They are relatively new to the neighborhood having bought their house three or four years ago. He’s a hip white dude with a ponytail, multiple tattoos and pierced ears. She’s a light-skinned black woman who works for MPR. They fly an assortment of flags which they rotate based on the season or what’s going on politically. At the moment it’s a “Stay Woke” flag that’s flying. They also have a rainbow flag, and a “Black Lives Matter” flag.

    During football season it’s the purple Vikings banner that’s proudly wafting from their pole. They belong to a group of people who enjoy tailgating. I have on occasion dropped them off at a downtown transit station so they could catch the light rail to Minneapolis so they could join their friends for some tailgating fun. They can’t afford to actually attend the games, so when the game starts they head home to watch it on TV. I might add that for these occasions they are colorfully costumed and face painted; I love their enthusiasm.

    But, Halloween is their favorite celebration. He decorates their house and front yard quite extravagantly with gravestones, skulls, and skeletons for the occasion. During that time they fly a Jolly Roger, and on the evening that the kids go trick-or-treating they both don elaborate costumes and host a Halloween party. They are a delightful addition to this old neighborhood.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. I don’t like to brag, but I live in the best neighborhood ever. We all know each other pretty well, have keys to each other’s houses, watch over each other’s places while on vacation, attend each other’s parties. Even the new neighbors just to the north of me are fitting in nicely. In fact they just invited me over this weekend for a cocktail hour just because. And of course two of my neighbors do a lot of my snow blowing during the winter.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I’ve often wanted to fly the American flag, for I am proud of this country in many ways (although prouder of its ideals than I am of how it performs). Alas, the flag seems to have been appropriated by more conservative groups. During the long debate about the war in Vietnam flying the flag was considered a vote for that war. “Love it our leave it.” I briefly went along with the counter to that, which was displaying the flag upside down (as if to say I loved my country but hated its foreign policy). Then that felt disrespectful, so I stopped.

    I chose to not fly a rainbow flag while living in Mac-Groveland because I thought it would hurt my neighbor to the east, a wonderful guy whose politics were to the right of mine. A devout Catholic, he was strongly pro-life. He was extremely aware of how properties in our neighborhood were maintained, and I just couldn’t assert my own values as fully as if a nice liberal had lived next door.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pro life is not a reason to keep from proclaiming all people welcome here.

      i know the rainbow flag people share my views. i like the sign that goes in many black lives matter yards that says all people are welcome here. i think has a rainbow on it. i havnt seen a flag that says all people are welcome here with the rainbow on it only the sign in some cases rainbow sign replaces the black lives matters sign.
      all people are welcome here even includes poor uneducated crackers who dont know about respecting other peoples rights and might be an opportunity to let them see how the other half lives

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Just drove home my WWII hellcat fighter pilot. He did a number on Trump from the veterans point of view.
    Told me today he did 100 safe landings on a carrier.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. I think some portion of the youngest generation doesn’t get it about neighbors – they can’t imagine having to be in contact with anyone not on their smart phone list. A few younger people showed up at our block party, but mostly old timers.

    I’ve been trying to decide whether to put out a yard sign for a County Commissioner candidate I like, but in a way it can be a conversation stopper if some neighbors feel strongly another way. I don’t know if yard signs help sway anyone’s vote – they just identify which side you’re on. I’d be open to baboon opinions on this.

    I’d like a banner like some of the yard signs I’ve seen: “Love Everyone, No Exceptions.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whenever we see new people move into houses in our neighborhood, Hans and I make a point of going over to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the neighborhood. I bring along a piece of paper with our names and phone number, and tell them to feel free to call if they need help or want information about neighborhood resources.

      Snow emergencies are typically the first occasion to go warn them to move their cars, and give them the details they need to navigate that particular circumstance without getting towed or ticketed.

      Not this last winter, but the previous one, I went to the door of a single mother with two little kids who lives a few houses down from us, on the opposite side of the street. She was the fourth neighbor I visited that night. Her sidewalk wasn’t shoveled, and her front steps were downright dangerous to climb because of snow and ice. She had two cars in imminent danger of being towed. She said one of them wouldn’t start, and I told her that would not prevent it from being towed. She needed to do something. She chose to put a sign on the windshield saying her car wouldn’t start and to please, not tow it. A few hours later the towtruck showed up and hauled it away. You can only do so much.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I doubt yard signs do any persuasion, but if you feel strongly, then do so. That’s my opinion. I don’t react to yard signs until people go overboard with number of signs for a candidate or add an assertive tone to how they do it.
      At one very prominent corner in town with a large clear area of mowed grass, the owner had long allowed signs to be put up for candidates, one each, the professionally made only. That seemed to me to be democracy at work. The city order it stopped.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. the city ordering it stopped is a travisty
        we have one corner in eden prairie where the signs are allowed by any and all candidates. it is the whos who of the election. if your name isnt on the corner you are not in the race


  10. This may different in a small town, BiR, I don’t know, but where I live, I put up whatever signs I want. If that upsets some people, so be it. I don’t hold myself responsible for other people’s feelings. If they choose not to speak to me based on whatever signs I have in my yard, that’s their prerogative. The people I know and care about know where I stand politically, and whether we agree or not, they do the same thing. After Sean Spicer was caught lurking behind some bushes in the White House garden, Hans made me a wonderful little Sean Spicer head on a stick. I planted him in my front yard sticking out from behind a shrub, but clearly visible for all passersby to see. What’s your freedom of expression worth if you can’t use it?

    There’s couple on St. Claire Ave. in St. Paul that live on a large corner lot. They’ve been known to post large, and I mean large, signs for opposing political candidates in their front yard. I think most people find it humorous. I know I’ve often wondered about what their dinner conversations are like.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. i have always put up the political signs. in my house where i was the obama guy in the midst of the right wing stepford wives folks. i had the neighbors at the bus stop both comment that they didnt know there were other democrats in the neighborhood. they didnt know each other were democrats. i did have thise signs stolen many times and replacing them was a pain because they got harder to find as time got close in each election

    the neighbors who were rude and looked the other way when i would walk the dog or drive down the road were exactly the ones i wanted to disassociate with but it took me a while to figure out the connection between the cold shoulder and the signs. i dont know for sure they did it because of that… maybe they were just that way to everyone but i think not. the same people who were so cold were on other occasions very neighborly to the others in the area, just not me and mine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This reminds me that when Paul Wellstone died, a neighbor we didn’t know had a candle lit for him on their lawn. Got to thank them one evening when we were both out. Until then we wouldn’t have known they were like-minded people… I think after that I put up something for the next election.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Living down in the valley on the dead end road, there’s not much point in putting up a sign. There’s a gravel township road that comes in 3/10’s of a mile to our driveway. That’s where the road splits to Rick and Betty.
    So if I put a sign up, only Rick and Betty are going to see it. And Thank Goodness us and them have the same political feelings.
    Now, they recently purchased some land that does border the county road. Last winter they put up a couple small signs about climate change. They didn’t last a week. And it took some effort as the culprit had to go through the ditch and into the field to kick over the sign.
    Another sign appeared just as the snow started. It stayed, but also got covered with snow. It was fun to see it re-emerge this spring.

    Liked by 5 people

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