07 February 2008

Our Neighbors

We have some great neighbors in our corner of Maine. They are the perfect balance of always being there if we need each other, but pretty much leaving each other alone the rest of the time. For me, anyway, that's what constitutes the perfect neighbor, and I LOVE all of mine.

Today, our next door neighbor did something for us that, for him, wasn't a big deal (though it ought to have been), but for me, it was HUGE. Let me explain.

We all know about the snow we got last night. It wasn't a big storm, but it was big enough that we couldn't avoid using the shovels and plows. Even though we homeschool, I gave my kids a snow-day today and we huddled in our basement to watch movies and play on the computer. Finally around mid-afternoon, I figured it was time for me to rejoin the living and go plow out our driveway before hubby got home.

I trudged upstairs, put my boots on, and glanced out the front window. There was our neighbor plowing our driveway. He was already half finished and I hadn't even heard him out there. I ran out to thank him and tell him all the reasons why he shouldn't be doing that for us, while at the same time, trying to express how utterly, entirely thankful I was.

But there's more. This same neighbor, who is not yet 40, just finished a hefty treatment of chemo for Leukemia - just 5 weeks ago. His hair still hasn't even grown back in. Yeah - and he was plowing MY driveway.

You'd have to know this guy. He lives to be outside. He has enough energy for 3 or 4 people and being laid up in the hospital for all those weeks was hell on earth for him. It turns out he has to go back to the hospital tomorrow for another week-long run of the chemo, even though he's in remission. Preventative measures and all that.

So, he told me that this was probably the last day he'd get to spend out in the snow for a while. Even after he gets home next week, he won't feel much like plowing driveways or riding his snowmobile for a while. He asked me to please let him finish our driveway. He told me he was enjoying it and needed to do it. What could I say?

Later today, after he finished our driveway, I saw him speeding up and down our quiet street on his snowmobile, probably scaring all the old ladies and angering the young moms. But I cheered him on. Tomorrow he'll be quiet and rest and take his medicine like a good patient. Today he's doing good and having fun.

Boy, I love my neighbors. But now I'm wondering how evil the rest of them must think I am for letting the one neighbor who's recovering from cancer plow my driveway. Thankfully, they won't ever say. They're great like that. :)

Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes


R.J. Keller said...

That's awesome. And he's right...he probably did need to do it, just as much as you needed it done.

Don'tcha just love Maine? :-)

Denine in Virginia said...

Your story made me cry, for many reasons, most all related to cancer and chemo. You probably think I am sitting on your site all the time, but really I'm just sitting on the computer all the time! LOL...I know people like your neighbor, and it does hurt them deep down to be kept inside or kept in a bed when they want to be up and around.
You wrote that story beautifully, and it gave me not only tears, but smiles as well.
Just between me and you, keep me posted on your neighbor, or maybe I'll just ask about him again...I lost my Mom (from Brunswick) to Breast Cancer MANY years ago, at a very young age, and I know that survival rates are wonderful now, so I don't doubt that he will stay in remission and be fine, but, I know I will be wondering.... Something tells me he will be raking leaves this fall and, if you are lucky, washing your car this summer!
Thanks for the wonderful blog!

Paulla said...

RJ, you're right, he did NEED to do it. I respect that. And yeah, I totally love Maine. :)

Denine, thanks for sharing your heart. I'm so sorry about your mom. Cancer is such an evil thing.

God Bless!