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Getting to know the neighbors

December 23, 2009

We really lucked out with the timing of our move to Scottsbluff, missing a storm that dumped about a foot of snow on the city (and closed portions of I-80). As we approached our new home and saw the snowdrifts, I began to wonder what the condition of our driveway and sidewalk would be like. We had told a few people that we would be moving in the week of Christmas – would someone have taken pity on us and given us an early Christmas present of a cleared-off driveway?

We pulled up to the house, and my heart sank a little. The driveway and front walk were ankle-deep in snow with a nice freeze-thaw ice crust on top and cemented-down footprints from the mail carrier. C’mon, Katie. What were you thinking? You’re not moving to Mayberry. Well, it wasn’t a total mess. Someone had cleared off the public sidewalk in front of the house. That was nice, and would prevent us from getting fined by the city for non-compliance with snow removal ordinances.

Husband chipping ice off the front steps.

The next day, a Sunday, we got a call from the moving truck driver saying that he was ahead of schedule and would be delivering our stuff *that day* instead of Tuesday or Wednesday as we’d been expecting. Aaaaahhhhh! That meant we had to get the ice and snow cleared off the sidewalk and driveway, pronto! We set to work chipping the ice off the steps and shoveling the looong driveway, which is sandwiched between the house and the neighbor’s fence so there’s nowhere to throw the snow except into the front yard. We worked all morning, took a break, and I went back out in the afternoon to work on the back part of the driveway.

As I was hauling snow, one of the neighbors we share the fence with came outside and offered to help finish the shoveling. Awwww, how nice! We talked a little, and he learned that we would be here without family over Christmas. When husband was outside later, working on chipping ice, the other neighbor came out and invited us over to their house for Christmas eve prime rib dinner. Wow! That is *so* nice!

Two days later, as we were unpacking boxes, the doorbell rang. It was one of husband’s new colleagues and his wife, come to welcome us with a plate of Christmas cookies and a loaf of homemade bread. They also pointed out a package on the porch – a neighbor across the street had dropped off some more Christmas cookies and a nice note of welcome. (I would post a picture of the cookies, but they didn’t last long enough to be photographed.)

I’d been feeling a bit blue, spending Christmas away from family in a strange town, in a new house, surrounded by boxes, with no energy for Christmas traditions. These small gestures of welcome made me feel a whole lot better about being here.

Thanks, neighbors!

Copyright 2009 by Katie Bradshaw

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