December 2, 2008

Fences and Neighbors

You know that old saying, "Good fences make good neighbors"? Well, that's not always the case, I've found. In my opinion, part of what is wrong with society is that we fence ourselves off from our neighbors and stay inside our own little worlds, refusing to get to know those who share our neighborhood. Now in the case of some neighbors, there aren't fences high enough or wide enough to separate us, but not so with Herm and Eileen.

I first mentioned Herm and Eileen in my post Being Neighborly. In that post, I explained how we had a missing section of fence between our yard and theirs when we moved in, and how Neal had repaired and replaced the fence. I ended my post by stating that since getting to know Herm and Eileen I wished we had put a gate where the hole was instead of solid fence. Fast forward to my post of Captain in the snow the other day and my mention of the missing fence section. So, how did that section of fence become missing again? The story goes like this...

We were invited to spend Thanksgiving Day with Herm and Eileen and their families. The plan was for Herm to cook one turkey outside in the electric smoker, and Eileen would cook one turkey inside in the oven. When Neal got up at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving morning to prepare his smoked brisket on the grill, he noticed that Herm's smoker was not smoking. Eileen soon opened the window to wish Neal a Happy Thanksgiving and he mentioned about the smoker. She told Herm who went to investigate and found that the smoker had inadvertently been unplugged from the wall....delaying the process by a couple of hours, at least.

When it came time for us to eat, Neal tested the smoked turkey for doneness and found it to still be on the raw side. It was determined that bird would need to come inside and finish cooking in the oven, but there was not enough oven space for a turkey plus all the side dishes that still needed to be cooked and heated. I called to Neal and suggested he go to our house and I would hand him things over the fence to put in our oven. He paused for a second, asked Herm if he had a hammer, then asked for permission to knock down a portion of fencing between our houses. Herm agreed, Neal hammered, and we started marching dishes from their kitchen to ours, courtesy of our new, neighbor-friendly opening.

The next day, after confirming with Herm and Eileen that it would be nice to have a gate, Neal began working on the project. He recycled the knocked down fence boards, purchased some hinges, latches and a few new boards for framing and we are now the proud co-owners of a gate that leads us to the home of good friends. No more standing on a patio chair to give and receive goodies. No more walking around the block to get to each other's houses. No more barriers between friends.

Sometimes good fences do make good neighbors, but for us, a mediocre fence with a good gate proved to be more neighborly!


Hot Belly Mama - taking it all back said...

ah! That's great! I love that!

LiveWorkDream said...

Oh you guys, what a beautiful story. We always talked about doing that with our old neighbors, who were the most incredible, fun people we'd ever known.

We never did though, and since we moved away, we learned that the couple got divorced. How sad, that things can change so quickly.

So enjoy and savor the good times, relationships like that are so rare.

Lilla said...

Hot Belly Mama - it is nice to have such great neighbors and to be able to spend time with them.

Rene -Yes, you are so right. Good relationships are hard to come by, so we should cherish the ones we have. It's funny how your perspective on things changes the older you get, isn't it?

JOE and JANE said...

That's pretty awesome. Wish there were just a fence between the four of us!

Lilla said...

Joe and Jane - I, too, wish we were close enough to only have a fence between us - instead of all those miles!