Like a Good Neighbor

Written by BG Howard

August 2, 2023

A particularly interesting weather pattern resulted recently with the sudden development of a severe thunderstorm. As I exited a particular wholesale market, it was noticed that the sky in the direction of the house had become uncharacteristically dark. Fortunately, although traffic on the highway had slowed to a crawl, there hadn’t been any accidents. As well, the winds picked up substantially during the fifteen minute drive home, resulting with me arriving on my street to notice seriously damaged shrubbery, broken limbs, and downed trees.

Once safely home, I realized the electrical power had been lost. I stood in the garage looking to see torrential winds tossing unsecured objects about the neighbors’ yards. Damage caused by the high wind proved extensive as several tree limbs had been broken or altogether ripped from their hosts. I continued watching the devastation for about half an hour while appreciating the benefit of being home. The sound of city crews’ chain saws could be heard well into the a.m. hours Friday morning. They worked to clear the right of way and remove limbs that posed potential hazards near power lines.

The following day, the neighbor who’d most recently moved into the area (I’ll call him Mr. Frank) stopped by my house in the early afternoon to return a measuring tape he’d borrowed weeks before. I was trying to figure out, given all that had transpired concerning the storm, why he would have figured it imperative to return the tape at that point.

Strange was the fact that “Mr. Frank” had elected to ride his bicycle down the street given the possibility of rain. Upon his ringing the doorbell, I’d walked out onto the porch where he passed me the measuring tape while commenting, “I had been intending to return it for more than a week, now.” Even more peculiar was when “Mr. Frank” suggested we take a seat in the rocking chairs on either end of a wicker bench on my porch.

It seemed somewhat odd that my neighbor had mentioned the considerable damage sustained at his house and the one next to him. There was talk of the fallen tree limbs, debris that had been blown into their pool, and other concerns. His “to do” list resulting from the storm and high winds seemed to grow more extensive as he itemized the damage. “Mr. Frank” even inquired as to whether I owned a chain saw while making plans to assist the elderly homeowner next door to him the following day. He asked if I would be available in the event more hands were required to saw the limbs and clean up around his and their neighbor’s house.

I pointed out having made plans the following afternoon but, in the interest of being neighborly, it was noted that I’d make myself available to help if required. My visitor and I had remained in the rocking chairs conversing for more than half an hour when he received a call on his cell. He told of the need for him to return home given the fact his son was there working on the irrigation pump after determining it had blown a seal. About the time “Mr. Frank” stood to leave, a truck towing a trailer stopped in front of the house. The passenger’s window came down and he gave a thumbs up which prompted my neighbor to question as to whether everything was done.

Perhaps it was the perplexed look I gave him that compelled “Mr. Frank” to provide the unsolicited details. He specified the men had been up the street at his house all morning cutting limbs and cleaning up debris left in the wake of yesterday’s storm. It wasn’t until then that I realized my neighbor had taken the initiative to return the measuring tape because it required him away from his house where all the work was being performed. The thought of plans he’d made for “us” to assist the elderly neighbor next door to him played through my mind. Suddenly, I had a distinct visual of me saddling the chain saw and him sitting in his rocking chair giving instructions.

That compelled me to suggest “Mr. Frank” contact a very good tree surgeon I’d utilized on a couple previous occasions just in case I couldn’t be available. Of course, I provided the contact information for the company’s owner so as to allow my neighbor means of scheduling the work. I reasoned it wouldn’t make a great deal of sense for me to miss out on something I’d planned to “assist” someone whose sole aim was finding his way out of work. Being a good neighbor, I figured I’d done my part by referring the tree surgeon. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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