Monday, January 25, 2010
Dear Hearts & Gentle People
I lived in Sacramento for five years and didn't know one single neighbor. I knew the name of the family across the street only because of misdelivered mail. As we were looking at property up here, it amused us that everyone we drove past stopped their activity to turn, look, and wave. It didn't take us long after we moved to Fair Play to discover that "neighbor" meant more than just the people next door. Now, I do want to say that we had wonderful friends in West Sacramento, with many shared activities, and happily we still get together. Hill people (as opposed to flatlanders) form a network that goes beyond friendship. There's an unofficial phone chain...a mountain lion has been sighted, rattlesnakes are coming out, there's smoke rising from the next hill, there's a deer in your vineyard, someone's dog (or cow) has gone missing. Pretty soon we're all on alert. I just spent a joyous evening at my neighbors', celebrating her eight years cancer free. I've heard an engine running close by, and looked out to see my neighbor on a tractor, disking the big south pasture, unasked, unannounced, but so appreciated. A gathering filled the Grange Hall recently (yes, the Grange is active here) to give support to a family that had just lost their wife and mother. I know from experience how comforting those hugs and murmured words are. Condolence means shared sorrow, and it really is significant to my neighbors. The mailboxes are down at the big road (that just means it's paved), and that's where we take the trash barrels for pick up once a week. That's the meet-and-greet place, where we catch up on the local news. Gray Rock Road is a bumpy, deeply rutted dirt road, and there's no traffic to speak of. I find myself turning to look and wave when a car goes by...there goes Dennis down to get the mail; hmmm, Farrell is late for work today; somebody up the road must be having company. Guess I'm not a flatlander anymore.