I had a dream last night that someone was hitting golf balls at our house. I kept hearing the thumping sounds and when I looked out the window I could see colored golf balls bouncing off the siding and the roof of the garage. I went outside to see three young boys in the yard next door, practicing their golf swings. I asked them to please stop hitting golf balls at my house. I was afraid they’d break windows. But they just laughed and kept golfing. Their mother came outside and said in a not-very-authoritative voice, “Now, boys…”
I think I know why I had this dream. My friend from down the other end of the neighborhood was walking by earlier this week and stopped to talk. She told us about her crazy next-door neighbor who calls the city to report those who leave their trash barrels out on non-trash days. He calls my friend constantly to complain to her that her dog is barking, even when her dog is in the house and not barking. We live in a neighborhood full of dogs! Dogs bark! What does he expect?
I think I had the dream, not just because my friend told me about her cranky neighbor, but because we are getting new neighbors and I am nervous.
No one stays in the house next to us. It’s a nice enough house with pretty decent yard. But it’s a starter house. It’s not that big and it only has two bedrooms. The kitchen is really small and narrow. You know how everyone likes to hang out in the kitchen when you have company. It’s not fun having a small kitchen.
We’ve been really lucky. We’ve had great neighbors in the house next door. First there was Dan and Julie. Julie left and eventually Dan remarried another Julie. They were great. We became good friends. They started having kids. Their little boy, John was Kacey’s age. Then Julie got pregnant and they decided they needed a bigger house. They didn’t move that far away and we promised to stay in touch. We did for a while, but then our lives got busy and went in different directions and… well, you know.
After Dan and Julie left, Dean and Ellen moved in. They were great and we became good friends! Ellen got pregnant and soon Baby Caitlin joined the family. A few years later, Abby came along. Our kids were always running next door to help Dean with yard work or bake zucchini bread with Ellen. When Caitlin and Abby grew up enough to run between the yards, they would come ring the door bell to ask if Kacey would come out to play with them. Kacey was “too old” for the girls, but she was always willing to make chalk drawings in the driveway with them and eventually she became their favorite babysitter.
A house just three blocks away went up for sale. Dean and Ellen looked at it on a whim and the next thing you know, they were moving out of the house next door. We promised we’d still get together for impromptu summer suppers on the deck but… well, you know. At least we still wave when the other drives by.
After Dean and Ellen left, Kevin and Kelsey moved in. We were getting old. Kevin and Kelsey weren’t too many years older than our oldest child. But they were great and we became good friends. A couple of years after they moved in, Kelsey got pregnant and soon Ethan joined the family. We always seemed to catch up with Kevin and Kelsey as we were all returning home from work for the day. It was always fun to coo and smile at Baby Ethan. He grew up over the winter last year and this spring he was running and talking. On any given day, I could look out my family room window and see Ethan in his toddler crouch in front of my water fountain, washing the landscaping rocks. Lately he’d taken to peeking in the lower level windows to see if I was around and willing to come out so he could “drive” my car or play “dunk” in the driveway with the basketball.
And recently, Kevin and Kelsey decided they needed a bigger house. They put theirs on the market, but didn’t have much luck. We were secretly happy. We didn’t want them to go. For a while it looked like they might just settle in for a while longer, but then an offer came on the house and they accepted. The closing was coming quick and they would be out of the house by the end of May. We were bummed. No more chatting with Kelsey in the front yard after work. No more laughing and chasing Ethan. No more watching Kevin lift Ethan up to the basketball net so he could dunk the ball. No more watching Ethan grow up next door to us.
The closing was today. Kevin, Kelsey and Ethan are officially moved out. We’ve promised to stay in touch…
The new neighbors arrived tonight. They didn’t stay long and all I really saw was their car in the driveway. I don’t know if we’ll be lucky enough to get good neighbors yet again, but I’m hoping. I didn’t see any little boys with golf clubs, so that’s a good sign anyway.