What Makes A Neighbor
“They’re good neighbors” is something I’ve
been hearing a lot lately; about both Mille Lacs Academy and those responsible
for the new facility’s location in our residential neighborhood.
As my family took a drive up north a few
days ago, and I window-watched as my neighborhood, my town, and familiar country
passed away in the rear-view mirror, I thought long and hard. Exactly what makes
a “Good Neighbor”?
I’ve lived in the Onamia community for a
long time, and memories of my neighbors go way back. In 1978, my first winter
here, I buried my truck up to the axles in a deep snowdrift in the middle of the
road on my way to work one day. Living alone, before the age of cell phones, I
thought I’d freeze to death before anyone missed me. Then suddenly I spied my
neighbor Floyd coming towards me on his tractor, with a wave that said, “Don’t
worry. Help is on the way.” He braved the blizzard to lend a hand. That’s a good
1. Good neighbors help one another out
of tough spots.
One day Lena flagged me down just to
invite me in for coffee, a little chit-chat, and a large piece of apple pie,
fresh from the oven. Now that’s a good neighbor! I’ve always enjoyed that sense
of “family” within our rather large neighborhood. Sometimes we’d play cards or
games, we’d have dinners together, go horseback riding, or just hang out.
2. Good neighbors occasionally share
Throughout the years, although we’ve lived
our separate lives, and neighbors have come and gone, one thing has been
consistent: We’ve known we can depend on one another. A noteworthy example of
good neighbor-ship occurred when a health crisis eleven years ago left me
permanently disabled. I couldn’t take care of my animals. Not only did Mark and
Gail feed my critters, they did my chores for a couple of years! That’s above
and beyond being good. Those are great neighbors!
3. Good neighbors are there for you in
times of crisis.
Likewise, I’ve tried to be a good
neighbor, helping out whenever I can. It isn’t one sided.
4. Being a good neighbor is reciprocal.
As my family reached our destination, I
became teary-eyed. The realtor we met showed us the property we’d come to see.
It wasn’t at all suitable for our needs and we decided on the spot not to buy.
What a relief! We turned around and went home. Our home. As we entered familiar
territory and I windshield-watched my approaching town, my neighborhood, and saw
my house, I decided to stay and fight until the bitter end. Why should I leave?
“The Mille Lacs Academy has not met my
good neighbor criteria. They’ve never helped me out of a tough spot, they’ve
never been there for me in a crisis, there is no reciprocity, and they don’t
share their pie! What’s so good about them?” I thought, angrily. Nexus is a
corporation, not my “good neighbor”. Then I thought about my supposed “good
neighbors” who are selling the land and the ones pushing for the annexation of
that location. I’ve known some of them for nearly 30 years. I have one thing to
say about that: Good neighbors don’t slap a sex offender treatment facility
into your neighborhood against your will and force you to live with it. That, I
believe, would fall into the category of “Bad Neighbors”. Very bad.
5. Good neighbors don’t invite sex
offenders into the neighborhood.
Let’s try to remember what our community
is about and try to all be good neighbors.
Bradbury Township Resident