Meet thy neighbor

It was about 6:15 in the morning and I was just heading out of the house to get to the shop. It was just about light out so I could see if there was any one else doing what I was doing. That is, get the day going. I was taken by surprise when I came upon my next door neighbor walking down her drive way to get the morning paper. Lillian Simmons is our street’s matriarch and she wears the title gracefully. At 97 years of age, Lillian looks, acts and lives better than most at 50. Me included. Never one to depend on others, you can see Lillian taking out her trash, tending to her backyard, going out to Sunday church with her lady friends and even driving her Honda Civic. A while back, my wife had asked Lillian what was it that she did to keep up so well. She replied that she only takes one type of medication that is minor and she makes sure to eat one apple a day. All I heard was, “One Apple A Day”. Amazing. And I thought that you gave apples just to teachers or used them in pies.

But the thing about this morning was not only Lillian proclaiming how great she feels when I had asked her, but as it turned out, another neighbor from the block, Chris was walking his new dog. Now Chris is an older man who I believe to be in his late 40′s or early fifties, lives with his father and is developmentally challenged. But Chris is the man when it comes to taking care of Lillian’s lawn. You can count on Chris to be there when snow falls on her sidewalks or when her beautiful maple tree sheds itself in the fall. Chris shovels, rakes and cleans Lillian’s landscape with pride.Chris had recently lost his mother and his new dog was a the good friend that Chris needed to help with the grief. Now, Chris is seen walking all over the blocks every day or even twice a day with his new buddy.

Lillian and I watched Chris stroll by and she made it a point to tell me how good Chris was doing. I certainly could see a peppy stride from Chris as we both said “hello” to him as he strolled by. Lillian continued to inform me that since Chris had met his new four-legged friend, he has lost weight and his diabetes is almost nil. I could tell the weight loss over the past few months, but I was glad to hear that it was a healthy weight loss and not something more drastic than that. Afterwards, Lillian and I had finished our morning chat and she went in her house and I got in the car.

One of the things that I find to be quite comforting is the fact that with all of the terrible news of war, politics and disasters all around us, I can walk right outside and see that at least two people are doing just fine and their stories are just what I needed to honestly proclaim, “Good Morning.” – Greg

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