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good neighborOnce again, I come here to tell you about how I got myself into trouble. I’ve mentioned before how wee Fergus and I live alone, in a fairly remote place surrounded by woods. Woods occupied by wildlife some of which is big or at least can run faster than I can. I know I need to keep my wits about me. Even when I got the tractor stuck last week, I had my cell phone on me.

Yesterday morning? Not so much. Thinking I’d get in an hour of weed pulling before the day got sweltering hot, I put on my work togs and gloves, gave my puppy the signal that he could go outside with me and out we went into the still-coolish morning.

Fergus wears a thick coat so he was ready to go back inside to the air conditioned house before I was, so I tried to let him back in through the greenhouse. The door had locked behind us and we were well and truly locked out of the house. No cell phone on me. No lock-picking tools. No spare key hidden outside (there is now). There’s a phone in the barn, but the key to the barn is on the same ring as the greenhouse key – hanging on a hook just inside the locked greenhouse door.

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There was no help for it. I started walking. Down one of the trails to the nearest neighbor a quarter mile away. Thank God Dave was home. He was home recuperating from a copperhead bite that had him hospitalized a few days last week, but he was ambulatory. Using his phone, I called the one and only locksmith in town, only to be informed that their guy was in a neighboring town all day and not available. And, no, there was no other locksmith closer than 50 miles.

Dave drove me back home and we contemplated the situation. I weighed the possibility I could squeeze through the greenhouse windows…

Not happening

Not happening

I worked the screen out of the window and had my head and shoulders through to the other side considering whether we could disassemble the window. Dave, calm under pressure, spotted the keys hanging next to the door and suggested we fetch them back through the window with a garden tool with a long handle. Brilliant! Just so happens I keep a pitchfork in my garden/tool shed. With a steady hand, and longer arms than I have, Dave threaded it through the window, neatly hooked the ring of keys with a prong of the pitchfork and voilà we were in.

So I learned a painful lesson with few consequences and no damage to my home. I also was reminded of the blessing of neighbors, friends, even strangers who come to our aid in times of stress or trouble.

As we sat enjoying a cup of Earl Grey with the honey I bottled last week, we caught up on our lives over the past several months – even years. These kind people are my closest neighbors and we rarely see each other. They have kept in touch with me regularly since My Darling Husband died to make sure I’m okay. What have I done to return the favor? Nothing really, but that’s going to change.

This world can be harsh and in these days when it seems like we are more divided than ever, we can be good neighbors, friends, even to strangers who need aid in times of stress or trouble. I want to believe that one by one we can still make a difference and build connections, bridge gaps real and imagined between us. Let’s do this.

 I love British comedies and “Good Neighbors” was an all-time favorite. Maybe it’s because they could get just as mucky as I do working in the garden.

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