809susanblogNeighbors make very good friends. I always thought there are two kinds of people: those who are friends with their neighbors, and those who aren't. I'm not talking about when you were a little kid and you played with the other little kids on your block. That's a given. I'm thinking about whether you're the kind of person who makes dinner plans with your neighbor.

My parents are very friendly. They have a large social circle of close friends. Rarely, do they have a meal out without another couple, or two, or three, or four. Yet, in over 60 years of married life, I would guess, they have never been out to dinner with a neighbor. I'm wondering if neighbor-friending is genetic. My cousin Dorie is the Queen of her sub-division. For over 25 years, she sits in driveways with her neighbors, plans block parties, and organizes joint garage sales. The funny thing is, her Mom was the exact same way. Dorie's family lived one block over, on Kedvale. It was a hotbed of close neighbor friendships. BBQ's, family outings, and late summer nights were spent sitting on those folding lawn chairs in the driveways of neighbors who were friends.

My kids are grown and I by-passed the neighborly bonding that so many others enjoy. Friendly? Sure. Friends? Nope. Yet, I realized yesterday, that there's a huge flaw in my neighbor theory. It is possible to be friends with your neighbors without a dinner date.

Joanie's dad passed away. Neighbors come together when something like that happens, especially in a condo building. We all saw the bowl and pitcher outside her door. Jewish people wash their hands returning from a graveside before entering a house of mourning. The rally was instantaneous: folding chairs, kugels, cold meat trays. And we gathered. We all love Joanie. Hugging, crying, and words of comfort went out to our building's favorite resident. And then it was my turn to feel the love. Joanie introduced me to her nephew, her cousin, her dad's caregiver. "This is my good friend, Susie."


Others praise You
with voices raised in song.
Still others paint awe-inspiring
canvases or raise buildings into the sky.
Let me praise You with the talents
You have given me.

I can reach out a hand
to steady my elderly neighbor,
or raise my heart in prayer
for a sorrowing friend.

I can stir a pot bubbling on the stove
as I wait for my hungry spouse.
I can speak comfort to a discouraged teen or
smile at the mother of an energetic child.

In all these ways,
I praise You,
who made me as I am.

- Sue Bradford Edwards

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