To Be a Better Neighbor

In this day and age I see, read and hear a lot of things I don’t understand. Back when I was a kid I think I was able to understand things better.

I understood trust better. Many people would give you their word they would do something, and they would. If they didn’t, it would get around that “so and so” don’t keep their promises. If you were in a business of some kind, a couple of cases of that might ruin you. Politicians who were not ethical didn’t get re elected. Relationships were built on trust.

I understood helping one another better. Neighbors would actually really do things for each other. I remember my Daddy mowing our elderly neighbors grass many times. “I already had the mower running” he would say. I remember brown paper bags of fresh garden vegetables being given from one place to another. “We got more Okrie then we can eat and more tomatoes…the neighbors across the street have more corn.” Out and back it went. People got together to help each other can vegetables for winter. A big mess of fish was shared, already cleaned. People…helped..each other. Look around and see if that’s happening now. Maybe sometimes…but most times not. In my neighborhood now I only have one person who has been there over a few months. The rest of the houses are rental houses. I should really take the time to try and get to know them anyway, but I haven’t. My fault there. It’s just a harder thing now for me.

I understood relationships better. There was only three TV channels and I had to go outside and manually turn the antenna to get one of them. Instead of constantly watching TV, we played. Baseball, football, hide and seek, freedom, board games galore, weekly Rook matches and so much more. My cousins were my close friends and playmates, along with our “neighbors on the street”. I could still name all of the ninth street gang if I wanted. There were a bunch of us. When it snowed during the winter, we cut up cardboard boxes and sledded all day. Didn’t even stop to eat lunch. We walked to the golf course with our clubs on our backs. We spent the night with each other. Does this kind of thing still go on? Do I just not see it anymore because I’m a grown up?

I feel like sometimes we have lost touch with each other, and when I say that I mean real physical touch, not just being electronically in contact. Don’t get me wrong. I have enjoyed and bought into a lot of the new age of communication and interrelationships. It was easy to slip into it, and it does have its good points. I think not being face to face with real people, and actually seeing and experiencing their needs and their own personal mannerisms and emotional expressions has robbed us of a certain ability to properly relate with other human beings. We see many people ask for prayer, and they get many likes and comments, but I bet one personal phone call or in person visit would mean more than 100 “likes” I came to a realization just the other day when I was “texting” my son. Texting is handy and necessary in some cases, but dammit there was no reason why I shouldn’t have just called and talked to him right at that moment…so I did.

I just saw statistics that more than 2700 hundred people will die in the State of Georgia over the next year due to the lack of Medicaid coverage because of political differences. That’s more people than the population of my entire town. If a tornado or a flood killed that many people it would be declared a disaster. If that many people died in a terrorist attack, we would go to war. As it stands, in this day and age, it’s just a number. Nobody’s outraged about it…nobody much anyway. Least not nobody who can do anything about it. I just understand it anymore.

No need to complain

Why complain about long grass?

I found myself doing that this past weekend, and I got aggravated with myself.

I find as the years pile up that perspective changes. What people think of me personally means very little. Worldly items pass like windblown leaves in the storm of days. You start to consider your legacy…what will it be? I spend a lot of time with my kids and grandchildren, and I find that I LIKE them more and more. I have always loved them, but having them as friends is now so important.

If I indeed have a legacy it will not be anything I have every written or said, anything I have possessed or will possess, anything which I bequeath, anything concrete thing I have ever created.

It will be the images I leave… in the minds of those I love. It will be a kind word that people who I call my friends might say about me. That is all which will matter.

Not how long the grass grows, it’ll be growing over me someday and it won’t matter to me a bit.