We all do it, sometimes. Neighboring! Good works done for someone who lives in the area; even if you are not personally acquainted. Proximity of living seems to bring out connections we don’t often talk about. I try to be a good neighbor, helping when I see a need. I exert myself to speak and smile at all opportunities when passing on the street during my morning walks. After all, we are a section of an urban area that feels very much like a suburb not two miles from city center. We have much in common. We see the same trees and flowers. We are protected by boundaries such as a major medical center on one side and I-91 on the other. Our area is an old area with most housing dated from fifty to over one hundred years. Many of us share in a belief that we are fortunate to find such a neighborhood. Is that what makes us feel so ‘neighborly’? I don’t know the answer, but as an writer, I know nothing exists in and of itself, but is settled in a nest of situations. Yesterday I faced two situations. My standard sized labradoodle, Othello, who is a gentle and wonderful dog, but who even at the advanced age of 13 years tends to run at every opportunity, took that opportunity at 3:30 in the afternoon. Amazing how this older dog could run so fast and so quickly disappear from site. Our hearts sank. Othello lives a protected life with a fenced-in large yard. We were four streets away from home, when he left. Kerstin, our daughter, and Pat and Joe and I in two separate cars patrolled the streets with no sight of Othello. We talked with all who were walking if per chance they spotted a large black labradoodle. I circled around to my home hoping he had enough galavanting. Nope! While we sat in my car in my driveway, both of us down-hearted, there was a knock on my window. One of my neighbors who I often see walking in the area brought a leap of joy to my soul. She smiled and said, “A woman on the street who does not know you, knew this was your daughter’s. She handed me my daughter’s bank card which had fallen from her pocket when she was taking her walk in the area earlier. I was grateful and disappointed at the same time. Grateful that Kerstin, my daughter, would not have to face the risk of a lost bank card but sad the the found object was not Othello. We then drove around the block several more times calling out and promising Othello a cookie. It would normally work. I saw another lady, unknown to me, walking two dogs and I asked if she’d seen a large black dog. Yes, she did but it was over forty minutes before. We headed in the direction of the siting and received a call from Pat. The afore-mentioned unknown woman had turned Othello over to the police who were at the circle nearby. Now did I tell you that Othello is the most social of animals who would invite a thief into our home to steal; only after giving some necessary barks to let us know we had visitors? There we found our Othello in the hands of three of Springfield’s finest being fed some treats and totally comfortable with his new friends. We had neighbors everywhere yesterday doing neighborly things for us. We are grateful. My soul is infused with joy and we thank them all; the known and the unknown. This is an experience, like all experiences, that informs my writing.
K. B. Pellegrino, Author