A Day In The Life


On Being A Good Neighbor
April 22, 2007, 12:06 am
Filed under: Odds and Ends

I love my nearest neighbor.  She lives about a quarter of a mile down the road from me, closer if I walk through the woods.  She is a widow and will be 82 years old this summer.   Now you may have the image of a plump, little gray-haired lady in your mind, but that does not describe Mrs. M.  She is blond.  Yeah, it isn’t her natural color, but when you’re almost 82 I think you should be able to have any color hair you want.  And she is styling.  She goes to the beauty parlor every Friday for her coiffure.  Mrs. M. tells me that is her one extravagance.  She is slim and trim and when she dresses up she often wears little suits that bring Jackie Kennedy to mind. 

Mrs. M. has a big dog that bears a remarkable resemblance to Scooby Doo.  The dog’s name is Tiny which just goes to show that my neighbor has a great sense of humor.  Mrs. M. has children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but none of her progeny live around here.  She is fiercely independent.  Her husband was in the military and they spent several years in India, but that was after Mr. M. had retired from the armed forces.  He was working as a civilian engineer when they were overseas.  They moved to Arkansas because this is where Mrs. M. was born and this is where she grew up. 

I enjoy visiting and talking with Mrs. M.   She tells great stories and imparts a lot of wisdom.  She loves working in her yard.  Her house is always spotless even when she thinks it is a mess.  She has some “girlfriends” that she socializes with and she has nephews that live in the area.  She works crossword puzzles and watches the news every night.  I drop in to see her at least once a week and sometimes she and Tiny go for a walk with Jasper and me. 

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by Mrs. M.’s and found her working in her flowerbeds.  She had a shoe on her left foot, but her right foot was encased in a Walmart bag with a ribbon tied around her ankle holding the bag securely in place.  When I inquired about her choice of footwear, she explained that she had tripped in the house and stubbed her big toe.  It was swollen and painful so she couldn’t wear a shoe on that foot.  I offered to take her to the after hours clinic, but Mrs. M. declined.  I told her I would be glad to run errands for her, pick up any groceries that she needed, take her to the beauty parlor or whatever.  Mrs. M. assured me she would call me if she needed me.  Did she ever call?  No, of course not. 

I have stopped by on one pretense or another more frequently in the intervening weeks since the toe injury.  Today Jasper and I walked over and there Mrs. M. was working in the yard with shoes on both feet.  She was quite excited about fixing up a corner of a flowerbed by her garage.  She had a massive potted plant….really, the plant is almost as big as she is….sitting on a square paving stone.  Mrs. M. gleefully explained how the plant was far too heavy for her to lift so she pushed it on the floor from her dining room to the door way into her garage.  Then she placed her ironing board across the steps from the door to the garage floor, scooted the plant on the ironing board and slid it down to the garage.  She used the ironing board again to get the plant from the garage floor to the paving stone.   I praised her resourcefulness, but I had to ask, “Mrs. M., why didn’t you call and ask me to help you with the plant?”  “Oh, honey,” she replied.  “You work so hard all week and you need your rest.  Why, I wouldn’t be a good neighbor if I bothered you with something so silly on a Saturday.”  

I hope I can be that good of a neighbor to someone when I am almost 82. 

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13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Now that’s what I call and interesting old lady. You’re lucky to have her as a neighbour. But even more important, you realise you are lucky.

Comment by Willowtree

what an enterprising senior….
can you imagine what she was like when she was young????

Comment by Pamela

she sounds fabulous! I love hearing stories like this and truth be told…I want to be a feisty old lady like that too someday!!

Comment by claudia

(and I mean feisty in a good way..spirited..)

Comment by claudia

What a great neighbor. I love talking to old people. Their perspectives being touched by all of their life experiences… they are truly my favorite people! My best friend is 103, soon to be 104!

Comment by Devon

You’ve painted a wonderful picture of your neighbor. She sounds amazing. if truth be told, you sound like a pretty awesome neighbor as well to check in on her so often.

Comment by Susan

I love her! Just love her!

Your comment on my blog for Saturday has me thinking. I am going to make a point this week to sit down and LISTEN and TAKE NOTES through that first CD. Then go to the scripture and read it myself. I am on the edge of learning something new, something big that can change my way of thinking for the better. I believe your comments are to steer me in the right direction. Thank you.

Comment by Vicki

Even at my age, I would somehow end up pinned underneath the plant before all was said and done.

The spryness of our elders never ceases to amaze me…they are capable of so much!

Comment by Tiggerlane

I can only aspire to be like her when I get older. wow. She sounds like a very interesting lady.

Comment by Karmyn R

From your writing I can picture her in my mind! I have a neighbor across the street that is a lot like your friend. In fact this evening she was sharing with me that her children are pressuring her to sell her house and move into something smaller and closer to them. I don’t know that she will because of that independent streak – I really think that is what keeps her going so strong. Here’s to them both!

Comment by gawilli

Mrs. M sounds like good people!
What an amazing woman…

Comment by Jodi

[…] and I made the short trip to my dear neighbor, Mrs. M’s house.  Jasper got a birthday treat and went outside to explore while Mrs. M. […]

Pingback by Visitin’ « Quarter Notes

[…] rained five inches in the wee hours of this morning.  I knew my neighbor and dear friend, Mrs. M., would not brave the flooded and washed out roads to attend church or to partake of the chicken […]

Pingback by Good Deed vs. Responsibility « Quarter Notes




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