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Prairie Correspondent – Good neighbours

Posted by Don McLenaghen on June 27, 2014

Good neighbours, we all want to be good neighbours and we want to have good neighbours. Mostly our neighbours are the people next door, either down hallway or down a street. Neighbours are usually close enough to know each other if not intimately then sight wise. If the walls are thin or the windows are open sometimes they now each other more than is comfortable. We know the comings and goings, the different vehicles, the new siding. When the plumber comes a calling we may not know the why but we can figure it out. The guy who parks his truck on the lawn and the one that is down on his hands and knees pulling the dandelions out by hand. A neighbourhood is full of all types of people.

Neighbourhoods can be welcoming places and some can be anything but. Like the barbeque that the Smiths had and invited everyone on the south side of the street but Hanna family. Everyone else got along as did Hanna’s and the Smiths, until one weekend when the RV arrived, something happened nobody was sure what. All that were invited went, they noticed the Hanna’s weren’t there, they talked among themselves yet no one said anything to the Smiths. After all it wasn’t their party or their yard or for that matter their food, what right did they have to say who the Smiths could invite and who not. This slight didn’t go unnoticed by the Hanna’s either. It was a small block and they had noticed the people passing their yard on the way to the Smith’s. Well the Hanna’s didn’t care because they liked the Smith’s just about a little as the Smith’s liked them. Well truth be known after the puffing of feathers and the bravado, they cared a great deal.

You see the two neighbours used to be friends, heck they borrowed each other’s tools and returned them, now that’s a good neighbour.  It all started one day when the Smith’s brought home a spanking new RV. 39 feet long with fold out sides a magnificent RV to the Smiths but a monster to the Hanna’s. The fallout wasn’t over jealousy the Hanna’s were glad the Smith’s had the RV they had four small boys so they too could imagine the fun ahead for the family. What the Hanna’s objected to was the RV had been parked in the driveway as far back as possible and RV’s large window lined up perfectly with the Hanna’s sundeck, patio doors and all the back yard for that matter. Now as much as one might like the people next door there are limits. The same reason people build fences, plant trees and build pergolas, was the same reason the Hanna’s found a problem with the RV. They liked their privacy

When Mrs Hanna awoke the next morning and rounded the table in the kitchen she was staring straight into the window of the RV, it was parked 6 inches from the dividing fence. Usually Mr Hanna was a more forgiving sort but he too stared at it eyes bulging. There was room in the driveway to pull ahead and therefore solve the problem so what the he double l is going on, the nerve. So out they go after cramming down their breakfast fit to be tied. They erected a makeshift blind with wood and an old sheet blocking the RV’s view of the property. Looked crappy but they wanted to make a point and after all what were the Smiths thinking! It escalated from there.

And so this leads to the night of the barbecue. The Smith’s and Hanna’s never talked and the other neighbours looked the other way. Was it the perhaps the Hannas fault if they had of voiced their problem with the way the RV was parked in the driveway explained the discomfort it caused, or was it perhaps the Smiths fault if they had taken the Hanna’s right to privacy into account. They could have hashed it out and came to an agreement that worked for both of them .It may be …a simple conversation could have alleviated the situation that developed.

And isn’t that the way of the world, we’re all neighbours some of us are closer than others, and our block is the planet. The Planet Earth is our neighbourhood. Perhaps we should make the effort to listen and talk to our neighbours. Good neighbours, we all want to be good neighbours and we want to have good neighbours, don’t we.

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