My neighborhood is a little unique.
I live on a cul-de-sac in the county, on a street with no name, that has seven houses all facing different directions and is also home to five dogs, several chickens, numerous jack rabbits, an occasional rattle snake, a large family of quail, and about 30 other birds that live in the orange tree in my front yard, eat all the oranges and greet me each morning with a cacophony of squawking.
When we first moved here, we were on the outskirts of civilization. We were the “edge of the desert” where teenagers went to have drinking parties, and an occasional dead body was found. We didn’t have cable TV or Internet service and every time the wind blew, our electricity went out—which also meant we had no water since our well pump requires electricity to run. The nearest grocery store was twenty minutes away, and going to church each Sunday was a half hour drive.
And the one road out of our neighborhood, when flooded, would become impassible.
During those early years we also suffered through what I call “the plagues”.
We had the mouse plague (which recently returned), the scorpion plague—where thankfully no one got stung-- the black cricket plague, the Indian house cricket plague and my most favorite—the plague of the centipedes. During that time, every morning I would awake to centipedes crawling across the floor, or hiding in my shoes. On two occasions they didn’t even wait until morning to pester me, but rather during the night, climbed into my bed!
It was then I wondered why we had willfully moved out to “the prairie”!
But civilization has since come out to meet us. Cable lines run under the ground, a Super Target is only a half mile away, a church building is down the street and monthly pest control has eliminated most of the unwanted creepy crawlers.
And I no longer wonder why we would ever want to live out in the desert. For besides the incredibly beautiful sunrises and sunsets that bless us each day . . .
We have our neighbors
Wonderful, fun, and very good neighbors.
Everyone on our street has lived here at least 10 years, and some as long as 15. Five of us belong to the Mormon Church, and all five were in the same ward (church unit) at one time before moving out to the county. The other two families actively participate in other religions.
But all of our kids have grown up together. In the beginning, there were Friday night “Capture the Flag” games, “secret” clubs, dance parties, and bake sales where we all got to buy back the items we just made. And we have all been the victim of the occasional prank—from the harmless toilet papering to the more destructive time when a garden hose was put inside a car window, the water turned on and left running over night.
Now we mostly celebrate prom dates, weddings and the birth of grandchildren.
We have had up times and down times, achievements and heart breaks. And through it all, we have been bound together by car pools, tragedy, sickness, health, and love.
I love that I can walk over to my neighbor’s home at any time to ask help with anything, and they are always willing to help. Whether it is shoveling 20 tons of rock on a Saturday morning, or help with a sick child in the middle of the night, someone will be there.
Our next door neighbors are particularly close friends. We have lived by each other for 24 years, served in many church callings together and have children who are best friends.
I count as one of my greatest blessings our friendship with Bryan and Connie. We are welcome in their home at any time whether they are there or not. If we go to their house while they are there, they will always feed us (something my kids learned very quickly) and if they aren't there we are still welcome to go in and watch TV (they have cable and we don't so my husband often disappears to their house to watch sports).
There are no walls between our houses and there are no walls between our hearts.
It is an honor to travel through this life with all of my neighbors. For they are definitely people who have brought, and continue to bring great . . . joy to my journey.