Updated: Nov 9, 2021
When my mom was growing up on Mountain Spring, it was a small dirt road named Cedar Street. At that time, there were only five families living on the road. She knew everyone that lived there, and nothing much ever changed. Over the years, younger generations built on their family’s land, but nobody “new” moved in.
When I was growing up on the road, there were a whole lot more families, and a lot more houses but you still knew everyone. If someone moved out, it was news, and everyone waited to see who moved in. My mom always stopped by within the first few days of a new family arriving to welcome them to the neighborhood. She meant it too, sincerely. She genuinely cared about people and wanted them to feel welcomed.
She wasn't the pie baking type, but she’d bring a bouquet of wildflowers, or something that she'd have found on her walk that morning. One neighbor was startled to receive a bouquet of skunk cabbage, but that auspicious start, none the less, cemented a 40-year steadfast and devoted friendship. My mom liked everyone - including “city folk” who didn’t know that skunk cabbage is the very first sign of Spring.
Since my mom passed away, lots of people have moved in and out, and houses have been built in places she would not have even thought possible. Her outgoing personality, however, clearly skipped a generation, as I have studiously avoided all contact with any of my new neighbors and the best I can ever muster is to wave enthusiastically to them as I drive by.
That is of course, until all of our sheep ended up next door and Anne and I had to go retrieve them. What incredibly nice neighbors we have! Who knew?!! And they were equally nice when, two weeks later, our gravel driveway washed out in a storm and (as if not to be outdone by the sheep) migrated down their driveway.
My mother would have been absolutely horrified that it took me two years to introduce myself, but she would have totally approved of my choice of housewarming gifts. Because in the end, a fresh baked pie might be “good and proper”, but really, who can resist the utility of 30 cubic yards of gravel and a flock of very friendly sheep?