Bridget and I have gone from knowing about two of our neighbors in February 2010 to about 25 of our neighbors in February 2011. Two of the new neighbors we met are R.L. and Martha, a couple in their 70s two doors down from us.
R.L. always sat on his porch and waved at us and we waved back, but we never really knew them more intimately than occasional waves or short conversations on the sidewalk on the way to the park. Last February, after coming to the Connectors Table, we started making efforts to shovel their sidewalk when we did ours. Over the summer, we would stop and talk longer on walks and come over for no other reason than to chat. We asked about their families and got to know them more. R.L. loved fishing and they had a daughter and son. R.L. had had diabetes since he was 20 and lost a leg from it a few years ago, so was limited in his mobility.
We took them some zucchini bread made from the glut of zucchini in Bridget’s little garden. Martha would bake fresh brownies and bring them over. On the day after Halloween, Martha showed up on our porch with two bags of candy for Patrick and Aaron, telling us that she had noticed we were out of town for trick or treat and had saved some candy for our boys!
R.L. had a few strokes that fall and spent some stints in the hospital.
We went out of town for a week’s vacation, and returned late Monday night. On Tuesday, Mike, a neighbor across the street we’ve also grown close with, came over to tell us that R.L. had passed away while we were gone and the services were wonderful. That night, Bridget and I went over and sat in Martha’s living room for the first time and talked about how much R.L. meant to our boys and us. We exchanged cell phone numbers, in case she needed anything, and told her we’d be inviting her to things to keep her busy in the next few months.
It’s not a big story, but it’s a deep story, and I‘m grateful for the connection.
~ Tim Vogt, a community connector, Bellevue KY ~