Good Neighbors

Welcome to another week!

Roughly a foot of snow blanketed the Atlantic community last week. Snow usually equals stressful driving for me. Snow and car troubles have made me appreciate my neighbors in recent years. Neighbors have pulled me out of ditches and pushed me out of driveways after heavy snow fell. People in the Atlantic community are willing to help one another. They rarely accept payment for it. I’m not sure if it’s a holdover from Depression-Era thinking or if it’s just the way we’ve always done things, but offering money in exchange for an act of service is usually met with a firm no. Good neighbors are something I try not to take for granted.

I’ve had neighbors plow my driveway countless times and refuse to take anything for it. Last winter a friend helped dig out my car after I got stuck in the yard. Then she anchored her feet and pushed me onto my driveway. She’s tough.

My favorite neighbor-saving-my-hide-in-winter story took place in 1996. I white-knuckled the wheel while driving down a very slushy Route 18 in Adamsville. A semi sped by, spraying a thick layer of icy slush all over my windshield. It was only the second winter since I’d gotten my license, and I did the wrong thing. I slammed on the brakes. The car’s back end swung around 45 degrees and my front end slammed into a ditch.

Guess where the ditch was? Right in front of my grandma’s house. She came running out to the road, afraid I’d been hurt. Thank God I wasn’t, and neither was the car. Snow was piled three or four feet above the ditch and it cushioned my car’s front end. While I freaked out about how I was going to get out of the ditch I saw a big, red truck coming down the road. I thought it was another semi.

Nope. It was the West Fallowfield Township snow plow. Guess who was driving? Virgil Cathcart, one of Grandma’s neighbors. He hooked my car up to his truck and pulled me right out of that ditch. Grandma and I thanked Mr. Cathcart and I drove to school. The school secretary didn’t question my story when I said I’d ditched my car.

We all have different talents and abilities. Mine don’t include doing heavy physical work or plowing snow. I definitely can’t pull anyone out of a ditch. But I can cook for my neighbors, write an encouraging card, or give them a ride. I hope I’ll recognize opportunities to help when I can, just as Mr. Cathcart and others saw opportunities to help me.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!