Friday, February 23, 2007

Nancy, My Neighbor


I don't believe I've ever told you about my next door neighbor, Nancy. When we first moved-in 14 years ago, she told me all about the woman and her husband who'd built our house back in 1935 and through the years she's kept me up-to-date on our neighborhood. She's one of those neighbors which a patrolman once told us was helpful to have--she's a watcher at her windows and no foreboding stranger would dare lurk around our windows or doors with Nancy at her watch.

Anyway, Nancy is in her early 80's (I believe) and she's lived in her paint-flaking house for over 40 years. She and her husband raised three children there, one of which still lives at home at around 45 years of age (I know, I know...). Nancy's sweet husband passed away back in 2000--I remember because it happened while we were having our house sided and Nancy's son was finally painting their peeling house a rather fluorescent blue, but his father saw it only in photos because by then he was laying in a hospital. I often mow Nancy's lawn for her because her son doesn't mind a jungle-like lawn. She says he's not a yard person...

Nancy amazes me because last autumn she and I stood in front of her house, talking for a half-hour (we'd not chatted in perhaps a year, yes--tsk...tsk..) and while Nancy told her stories (she's a talker, but her stories are interesting), my back began hurting as it does if I too long stand in one place. But Nancy seemed fine. She is 30 years older than I am, but I was the one searching for a chance to escape for my daily walk. Nancy probably could have chatted another hour about her grandkids and her kids and her sister and our neighbors.

And when I finally did take-off on my walk, I left inspired by this elderly woman's interest and involvement in Life--and by her ability to stand longer than I can!

But anyway, here's why I'm writing about Nancy this afternoon. This will make you smile. I was out shoveling snow again today (big storm last night) and I saw Nancy in her car, back out of her driveway. And then she did something which I forgot that she always does while she pulls the car forward to drive down the street. She turned the wheel and then made the sign of the cross across her forehead and chest. She does that so she'll arrive safely wherever she is going.

I love that. And I love having a neighbor like Nancy.

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