Saturday, August 19, 2017


In my rural community, you either like (a measure of love) or dislike (meaning hate) a neighbor. It's probably that way everywhere. Usually, there is no middle ground since neighbors are important fixtures, in a rural community. They will help watch your property when you’re absent. They wave from their vehicles when they pass or from their lawn mowers in their yards. They call an ambulance for you and take your kindergartener into their home until you get back from the emergency room. Good neighbors also bury your nineteen-year-old cat that has crawled upon their deck to die. They rally around you when times are tough and cheer you on when good things happen. These are good neighbors.

I’ve talked to my eastern neighbors a lot this summer. There was the issue of my thirty-year-old tree needing to come down, that kept getting in the power lines and shutting off everyone’s electricity. It was an emotional issue for me, the tree. My neighbors never said that I needed to take it down, in fact they mourned the passing of the tree with me. There was the issue of limbs that fell out of that tree and damaging my eastern neighbor’s shed. This is a shed they’d just reroofed and painted a pretty shade of gray to match their house. I wanted to pay for the damage. They said no that it wasn’t that much damage. The male of the house cut up the limbs that fell on their property, before I could get someone to do it. They hauled that away plus a pile of limbs in my yard. There was the exchange of family matters, between the female and myself, on sad stuff like their kid and grandkids moving to another state. She talked about her debilitating autoimmune illness and a new treatment that is working. I talked about my being dumb and exposing myself to heat exhaustion this summer and wearing a heart monitor for thirty days.
I’ve lived near my eastern neighbors forty-one plus years. Forty here. One year at another location. My first house after marriage happened to be next door to them. After we both moved, they invited us to dinner at their new house. I even remember the menu and that I read a book (or ten) to their oldest child. I was pregnant at the time so I felt motherly, I guess. I looked out of their patio doors that day and asked about the house being built behind them. After our baby was born, we moved in.
I've lived next to my western neighbors, my daughter-in-law's parents, for the same forty years. Funny thing is that one out of each of the households graduated high school with me. To the north, there is an older couple that I absolutely adore. They moved in from CA about seventeen years ago (I think). One of their kids (with family) lives northwest to me. They are all wonderful.
I am blessed with good neighbors.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

When socioeconomic groups come together

If there is one thing, okay maybe two, that will bring socioeconomic groups together it might be sports teams and dollar stores.

In the town where I work (and live near), there is a new Dollar Tree! For months, Facebook buzzed with excitement over the new business. At one time, our town had its fair share of industry, for a rural area nearly forty miles from Missouri’s Queen City. 

I didn’t go to the opening of the new Dollar Tree, since I don’t like crowds, and I figured there would be crowds. However, one day after work I stopped by to purchase a greeting card. I bought two.

My big-spender purchase cost me one dollar plus tax. Even on that day, after the grand opening had passed, the parking lot was full. Inside, I was met with a well-organized, clean store and lots of people shopping, with carts. I recognized the patrons as a mix of those who had less money and those who had more than enough money. 

Customers were buying everything from food to school supplies. Most bought much more than I bought, but I’m careful with my dollars in the dollar store or I might be sorry. Dollar stores are a great tempter.

I'm super happy that we have a new business and that our community can come together over a dollar store. I only wish that one could buy a dollar tree from a dollar store. If I did buy that dollar tree, would I spend those dollars at the dollar store? That is the big question.