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Turnabout is Fair Play

Communities develop from interactions between individuals.
Picture of Karl Palachuk

Karl W. Palachuk
November 29, 2009

I live in a little court. That’s what they call a dead end built after 1990.

We have seven neighbors on the court. We moved into the court in 2003. All of our neighbors have lived here longer than us. That’s pretty amazing considering the house buying/selling frenzy that preceded the housing crash.

Anyway, as is common in newer home developments, I have a little patch of lawn on the right side of my house and a little patch of lawn on the left side of the house. Same with all my neighbors. Because the court goes in a circle, it doesn’t matter how big your back yard is: The front yards are pretty small.

So when I mow my front lawn, I go ahead and mow the patches of my neighbors left and right. It takes an extra five minutes, even with a reel mower. Over the years we’ve all developed this habit. It takes very little effort; we never talk about it; but everyone does it.

And every once in awhile it comes back to me how delightful it is to have good neighbors.

Yesterday I spent most of my time in the back yard. In fact, I only went out in the front yard after dark to help my daughter put some things in her car.

So today I went outside to go for my morning walk and found a wonderful present: My entire front yard was newly mown and all the leaves picked up! Apparently, yesterday, both of my neighbors took care of their yards. And tuned up mine as well.

I was struck with how nice it is to live in a community. Sometimes, especially at this time of year, we find ourselves going from one crowd to another. Crowds at the game. Crowds at the restaurant. Crowds at the store.

But a crowd isn’t much of a community. Communities develop from interactions between individuals. A little give and take. A little giving without taking. And sometimes a surprise when you’re on the receiving end of simple generosity.

So on this bright Fall day as Winter approaches, I am thankful for my neighbors and our little community.


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2 Responses

  1. For all the media focus on bad behavior, it’s good to hear examples of real community. My mother’s neighbors frequently beat me to mow or rake, no matter how early I try to get there!

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