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Our Street

November 7, 2012

Day 7 of 30 Days of Gratitude

I am thankful for the neighbors on our street.

One of the big reasons we decided to leave the house that Curtis built (and I helped with and loved), was the lack of community on our street.  After four years, we didn’t feel very connected with many of our neighbors–there were a couple we got to know and enjoyed talking to, but it was pretty lonely out there on the hill in Far East Austin.  As we looked at new houses, we judged a house by how many people we saw outside on the street.  This wasn’t totally fair, since we usually looked at houses over lunch in the middle of work day, but it was an indicator any way.  Eventually, we settled on our current house.

While I can find faults and discontent with our house if I let myself, I can’t find much with our street and our neighbors.  By current count we are up to 12 kids on our street (out of 11 houses).  When we bought the house, there weren’t any kids.  Our kids race bikes up and down the street, take each other for “train rides” in a wagon, play policemen and scallywags, play soccer and hockey in the middle of the street, and spend time running into each other houses and stealing toys (wait, that’s just my kids that do that).  In addition to the 12 kids, we have four houses whose kids are already raised and moved out.  Grandchildren come and visit three of those houses and we know all five of those kids names too.  Our next door neighbor has looked into my kids’ ears and throats countless times, catching many ear infections/strep cases I may have just ignored.  On the other side, our Persian/Indian neighbor has made yummy Indian food for us to prove there are ways we love okra.  A little bit up is another neighbor whose boys are in college and has no grandchildren yet.  More than once, she’s taken a couple of my kids around the block with her to walk her dogs.  That’s been a life saver more than once, when I’ve needed just a few quiet moments in the afternoon to work on supper.  I won’t admit to how many neighbors I’ve borrowed eggs, spices, sugar, and many more random ingredients from when I’ve been in a pinch.  Another neighbor gave me permission to trim her overgrown parsley plant whenever I needed some and I begged neighbors to take some basil off of my plant.  At some point, four of us have gotten CSA boxes from the same farm, so we trade veggies and share recipes.

It’s that kind of street—it feels like a real community–and a bit of a ethnically, politically, and religiously diverse community at that.  It was exactly what we were dreaming of when we looked for new houses.  God is good.

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