Sunday, December 11, 2011

The neighbors across the way

I've lived in the same house for 36 years - that's a very long time. During that time I've had lots of neighbors (and a few wives - but that's a subject for another time) come and go, mostly without any particular consequence to me. Today, though, the departure of my next-door neighbors of 11 years has left me a little sad.

I should explain that my house is situated in such a way as to provide almost total privacy from most neighboring homes, the exception being the house across the way where the departing family lived. I share a drive-way with that house and parts of my back yard, where I spend a lot of time, can be seen from the property so having good neighbors in that house is important to me. So far I have been extremely fortunate; in all the time I have lived in my house there have been only three different owners across the way, and they have all been what I would call good neighbors.

My definition of "good neighbors" is pretty basic. I'm a private person so I like to be left alone; neighbors who constantly stop in to visit annoy me, although if we run into one another in the driveway I don't mind chatting for a while. I have three dogs who spend a lot if time in the back yard, and if they see or hear someone next door they feel the need to bark at them; I realize this can be annoying, even to dog-lovers, so I try not to let it go on too long but still, a little tolerance is necessary. Likewise, if they have a dog who barks at me as I drive in or out of the driveway (Copper, I'm looking at you) I'm perfectly willing to tolerate it as the neighborly thing to do. Raucous late-night parties could be annoying, unless of course I'm invited - I probably won't go but being invited would make me feel better about the noise (but I hope they don't block the driveway). That's about it - if they'll tolerate me without complaining, I'll put up with them. But my dogs will still bark at them.

Rick and Tammy were pretty much perfect neighbors in every respect, and I grew very fond of them and their animals. I miss them already and I hope they do come back in two years, as they promised to do - but I'm not counting on it as they are young and have to go wherever opportunity takes them. In the meantime, I'll be waiting to see what my new neighbors are like. I sure hope they like dogs.

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