It is so refreshing to meet a good neighbor! I live in the Pecan Park neighborhood of West Jackson. Our community is bordered by Prentiss Street, John R. Lynch Street, Pecan Boulevard, and Robinson Street. Yesterday, I dropped by my house to grab a quick lunch and noticed someone in my backyard! Ok, so he wasn’t technically in my backyard, but he was along my fence line. Anyway, the guy was diligently cutting away vines and branches that had grown there over the years. It’s a project that I had been intending to tackle, but I just never got around to doing it. In our neighborhood, many of the utility easements run behind our houses and Entergy had spent several weeks earlier this year cutting down trees and branches along their power lines in the neighborhood. Their work definitely helped my back fence line, but there were a few vines that stayed put.
So I approach the guy working at the fence line thinking that he was a city employee who had come back to finish cleaning up the ditch/easement. As I get nearer, I realize something: this guy is a neighbor that I had just met at last week’s neighborhood association meeting! At that meeting, his neighbor praised him for doing the good deeds of trimming a huge magnolia tree that was blocking people’s view of oncoming traffic AND he had gathered some pine straw together and hauled it to a neighbor’s house so she could use it in her flowerbeds.
I greet the neighbor and we begin to chat. He explains that his parents moved into the neighborhood in 1978. Back then, he said, the small, paved creek was well landscaped with monkey grass and flowering trees. Now it’s just full of vines and weeds. He and his wife recently moved into the house in which his parents once lived. He further explained that he was a brick mason who was out of work and that he was just finding small projects to take on to keep him busy–hence the reason for the recent volunteer projects. He also acknowledged that having clean fence lines would help neighbors to look out for each other. Clean fence lines would allow neighbors to spot suspicious activities next door that would have been hidden by vine-covered fence lines. I admit, my heart was warmed. I also felt compelled to help, which I admitted to him, but I couldn’t since I had to return to work. I trekked to my house, grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator, and profusely thanked him for his good deed as I handed him the water bottle. His response: “Being a neighbor is about helping each other. Let me know if you need help hauling anything or anything else.” Likewise neighbor. Oh, and despite the fact that we had met each other at the recent neighborhood association meeting, we hadn’t been properly introduced. “What’s your name?” he asked. “Curnis, and yours?” “Zachary” he said.
Well, Zachary, you are a testament to the fact that there’s nothing like a good neighbor!