Friday, November 16, 2007

When Kindness Hits The Fan

Once upon a time there were two neighbors. Only one didn't spell it like the horse's whinny, but more like the nay form of no, like when the nays have it. In other words: Naber.

Naber was not literally a neighbor, as in, next door, but just a passerby, more akin to the good Samaritan. In fact, this is exactly what she was.

A month ago, my kids were on their way to school when they were rear-ended by another student, who was then rear-ended by another student. My daughter's car was rammed into the car in front of her as well, so there were four cars involved in the collision.

First of all, thank God, nobody was hurt. (Although my daughter's 2-month-old car she had just bought with her summer jobs was totaled.)

My hub and I rushed to our kids as soon as we got the call. I had just jumped out of bed when I heard the phone ring, knowing that phone calls you get when it's still dark out are not generally a good thing, and didn't even brush my teeth. Kind of nasty when you think about it, and I really don't know why I just did. But anyway, nobody said anything about it, so maybe my secret is safe.

We had our kids on the cell the whole time we drove to them, and all I could think about was that my poor kids were sitting on the side of the road, in the dark, alone with a bunch of strangers who just crashed into them. When we got there I ran straight to my Amanda and took her into my arms to make sure she was all right, and then I did the same to my Matt. They were shocked and shaken up, but okay. And Amanda was already realizing that this was going to make a good story to tell all her friends. That's my drama queen.

Anyway, enter Naber. I don't even know her first name, but she was on her way to work when she saw the accident. She pulled over to make sure everyone was okay, and when she found they were all students, she stayed on the scene until all the parents showed up.

We only live five minutes away, but this meant so much to me, that she would care for my kids like this. Go out of her way, on her way to work, which probably made her late, to stop and involve herself in somebody else's misfortune, and see them securely in their parents' hands.

When I found out her last name was Naber, I was beside myself with the thrill of dramatic irony that I was grasping. I don't even know her first name, so I have to call her Good Naber.

And once upon another time, not too very far away, there was another good neighbor, literally, as in right next door, and spelled the non-phonetical normal way.

His name is Ron.

The other day, we had, very likely, our last nice day of the year to play tennis outside. So I played for a few hours with my tennis buds and we thoroughly enjoyed each other, the tennis, the sunshine and fresh air, knowing that hibernation was just around the corner. I wasn't sure how the day could be more perfect.

And then I drove home, and as I drove up to my house, I noticed my neighbor was mowing my lawn.

He turned off his riding mower as I pulled into my driveway, and we chatted for awhile. He wanted to make sure I didn't mind that he was cutting my grass, but that it was such a beautiful of a day that he didn't want to stop and go inside once he finished his own lawn so he just cut our lawn and keep going.

I told him I didn't mind.

The thing about Ron, is that we had been talking about how to be a good neighbor to him.

This summer he lost his wife, his daughter, and his mother. When we moved into our home a year ago, they were deluged with dealing with his wife's cancer, and I had only been able to catch him outside once, while he was mowing his lawn, to meet him. It was a very brief but friendly meeting and I did not learn that he had a sick wife inside. I will probably always feel very badly about that, but that was all I had to go on, since every other view of him was as the garage door was either opening or closing and he was coming or going. His wife passed away in May. Two weeks later, his daughter passed away from cancer as well. A month later, his mother passed away. We didn't even know. We saw a flurry of activity in and around his house all of the sudden late this summer, and had no idea what he had just gone through, or that he was doing all the things to their house that she had wanted to do, for her. Dave just happened to catch him one day and ask him about his new windows. That is how we found out, and when we wished we were bit more nosey, like our other Good Naber. This is the guy who was mowing my lawn, and teaching me to be a good neighbor.

Currently watching :
Veggie Tales: Are You My Neighbor?
Release date: 14 March, 2006

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