Pages

Saturday, 26 May 2012

A Parting Gift From My Neighbour

For the last thirty years, I have had the most wonderful neighbour.  He has never complained about anything my family did and he has never given me cause for complaint. I commented on his patience with neighbours, many years ago, and he said, "Dogs die and kids move away.  Why get upset about things that aren't permanent?".

Chuck is a quiet, shy man.  After my divorce, he would slip over to my yard and trim the shrubs that had become unruly and clip back the heritage, climbing rose that straddled our fence.  He never said a word about it and was embarrassed if I thanked him.  When his wife lost her battle with cancer, he made sure his daughters called me so I would know why the ambulance was there and not be wondering.  I had free reign to tap into his hydro if I needed to run power tools at the back of my yard and his shed was open should I need a tree lopper, extension ladder or lawn roller.  He was simply a good neighbour.

Unfortunately, time has taken it's toll on him and he could not keep up his home anymore. His worn out knees couldn't manage the stairs and a fall left him with limited use of one shoulder.  He, now, had to ask me to help him.  I was happy to pay back all of his kindness, but I know it bothered him.

He sold his property and moved to a senior apartment.  When the house was being cleared out, his daughters asked if they could pay me to put a few items in my dumpster. I watched these girls grow up and we are very comfortable with each other.  Of course, I told them that was fine and that they were to tell their dad he was insulting me by offering to pay.  He had paid many times over with cucumbers passed over the fence and bags of corn from the family farm.

They held a yard sale to get rid of the extra items from the house.  The daughters did not want to negotiate with me so I did my dickering  with the 10 yr old grandson.  I made my purchase for the grand total of $2 and the child showed me a beautiful (his words) rhinestone brooch.  He had wanted to buy it for his beloved teacher but for some reason wasn't allowed to.  I bought the brooch and whispered in his ear to help me back to my house with my purchases.  I handed him the brooch and told him to put it in his pocket and not mention it.  I'm awful like that with kids!

A few minutes later, Grandson was back with money in his hands.  I thought he had been caught with the brooch, but no, it was the money I had paid for all my purchases.  He said, "Grandpa says we're not to take any money from Maureen".

I had to fight back tears when Chuck left his property for the last time.  I do have the most wonderful thing to remember him by.

What I bought was a vintage, blue willow child's tea set.  I'll have tea parties with my granddaughters and we'll always drink a toast to good neighbours! ~ 


For the story behind the pattern on Blue Willow dishes click here.

31 comments:

  1. this is the sweetest story and makes me want to go knock on everyone's door in the neighborhood!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just do it! I like you and I'm sure they all do!

      Delete
  2. How wonderful to have had a neighbour like Chuck. I have tears in my eyes after reading such a beautiful tribute to such a fine person. (I'm sure the teacher will love her "beautiful" brooch, and Chuck's grandson will never, ever forget you.) Marilyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do hope the teacher realizes how much he wanted to give that to her. The grandkids took the sale of the home very hard and the sixteen year old granddaughter cried her eyes out the day it was sold. I've told them they can come back, one door away, any time they like.

      Delete
  3. Such a beautiful story! The tea set is a precious memory of a wonderful neighbor. We don't often get that lucky :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You my sweet are a good neighbor. What a simply beautiful post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's really important in a small village to get along with each other and I do try be helpful to my neighbours. Of course, when I was younger and had teenagers in the house, there was plenty of noise from here on summer weekends!

      Delete
  5. What a lovely gift, Maureen. And what a lovely story. I miss Chuck just from reading this post. :~/ You'll always remember him when you have tea with your grandgirls and they will too, because you'll tell them all about him. That's quite a legacy for a man who preferred to stay in the background his whole life. I'm more than a little choked up about it, really. I had a "knock-off" Blue Willow set as a little girl and I still have all of the pieces, carefully wrapped and packed away for the day when I (hopefully) have a grandaughter or maybe two? to share tea with. Hope Gert and Maude are doing well and that you have a wonderful Sunday! ~Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm having my first tea party with Baby on Thurs. and I can't wait to see if she likes it! I only had grandsons for 17 yrs. and then acquired 4 granddaughters in one year. Keep that tea set handy! I'll catch everyone up on Gert and Maude shortly.

      Delete
  6. This is again such a beautiful story!
    because of your gift for writing, i have nominated you for an award. it is the Food Stories Award for Excellence in Storytelling. Check it out at (http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/). Feel free to decline if you don't want to join in :-)
    love
    jutta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really, Jutta, you are making me blush! I'll check it out and I'm thanking you, in advance, for thinking of me and all your kind words.

      Delete
  7. Good neighbors are precious. One of my good neighbors put out a For Sale sign yesterday. It's so sad. Thanks for sharing your lovely story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it awful to hope someone's home doesn't sell? I'll cross my fingers that someone you like moves in. Have a great week!

      Delete
  8. Maureen, Your post made me want to cry. I know it was heartbreaking to see your beautiful neighbor leave his home. I have had lovely neighbors...not all mind you, but the good ones made it nice to live beside them. You will have a nice memory of them with the teaset. Love the little boy saying he wanted the brooch for his teacher. Smiles to you this wekend, Susie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I had a pic of the boy clutching that brooch in his two hands! Actually, he had a good eye. It was very good quality, vintage, costume jewellery and I think his teacher will like it.

      Delete
  9. Oh- this has put tears in my eyes. It is amazing how someone that is not family becomes like family to us, isn't it? I am so glad that you had him as a neighbor all these years-as I am sure he was happy to have you there, too.

    I had a tea set like that back in the late 1950's. It cost $3 and my mother thought that was A LOT to pay for a child's set of dishes. I wish I had it today! xo Diana ps...I would have done the same thing with the brooch!;>) I'm bad like that, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mother paid too much! Mine was priced at $2. Why aren't I surprised that you would sneak a child a brooch? lol

      Delete
  10. What a beautiful story. Dino noticed that the house had sold and we were wondering, but afraid of what might have been the cause of the sale. Good news, though sad for you. I hope your new neighbours are just as fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was your neighbour for many years, too, and I bet you don't have a bad word to say about him! I'm told he settled into his new place well.

      Delete
    2. You would win that bet. He is such a kind man. We had the cemetery between us so we didn't chat or share as much as you two would have, but you're right,...not a single bad word.

      Delete
  11. I love the fact that someone has nominated you for an award for storytelling Maureen. It's so deserved. Another lovely post, that I so enjoyed reading. What an amazing neighbour, and a great reminder in a charming set of child's Blue Willow.
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Just when I was telling myself not to ramble so much, someone is kind enough to give me that award.

      Delete
  12. This story brings tears to my eyes. You have been so blessed to have such a good friend. My dad has a saying "time marches on" this is what your post made me think of, my dad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sure does march on, no matter how I try to stop it! Their's was such a solid and true generation of men!

      Delete
  13. If more folks had you flavor of awfulness the world would be far more kind. I love this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Olive. I'll quote you next time a parent accuses me of letting kids get away with things! lol

      Delete
  14. This post is beautiful Maureen. Chuck is such a sweet man who we only recently got to know a little more. Your memories of him as your neighbour will be your greatest treasure of all from him. xo wendy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, Wendy, how appalled he would be at his little moment of fame! lol

      Delete
  15. lovely post. you are a kind and generous friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, but I really think I am the one who got all the generosity. I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend!

      Delete