Monday, December 22, 2008

Barter accomplished, neigbhor culture pondered

My grandparent's house in Seattle provided me my understanding of neighborly behavior. They seemed to know all of their neighbors--a visit to their home would also often mean a visit to the neighbor's. One had a huge Great Dane and a carp pond in the back yard. Another neighbor provided treats on most visits. They would loan garden tools, get a cup of sugar, exchange Christmas cards. I thought neighborly living was a lost art. I don't remember good neighbors outside of my grandparents neighborhood.

My life in South Dakota revived my memories. I don't know if neighborliness is a South Dakota quality, or if neighborliness is like politics and real estate--depends on the local situation. My mother thinks her neighbor is a quack and keeps one eye open. My dear wife and I are blessed to have some fabulous neighbors. Saturday night I squatted at their home for a little poker game, shared a six pack of beer and some snacks. No planning of a poker party--only a simple get together. This morning, we practiced a little barter--a gallon of milk (I seem to know where to buy cheap milk) for a package of THE BEST BACON. (Sidenote: supposedly artisan bacon is all the rage, but the Hutterites in South Dakota were making artisan bacon before artisan bacon was artisan bacon). I don't really like bacon all that much. I was a vegetarian for 6 years. But that is good bacon. We get together for a cocktail here, a meal there, a talk while standing in the driveway...they have mowed our lawn, shoveled our snow, watched our children. We have tried returning the favor at times, but we have received the better end of the deal.

Whenever we move, we will never have better neighbors.

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