Daily Archives: June 24, 2011

Them Sneaky Neighbours

A few weeks ago, I wrote about stealthy acts of kindness committed by neighbours. Around this neck of the woods, it actually happens fairly frequently.

Some acts are less covert than others. My neighbours know I collect plastic milk bags for my mom to make into waterproof sleeping mats. What’s mildly amusing is finding them hung creatively on my front door, or stuffed into the mailbox. Admittedly, it sort of reduces the stealth factor when one of the neighbours follows up a couple of days later: “Didja get the milk bags?” And this too I find comical, since it’s fairly unlikely the plastic bags would have been snatched up by a passing pilferer before I got a chance to retrieve them.

A short while ago a child’s scooter was mysteriously abandoned on the sidewalk outside our house. (We’ve actually found a few odd things stashed on our street: once, a good bike. More recently, cash register drawers emptied of everything except pennies. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest those were unconnected to any semblance of good deed.)

In the case of the scooter, it was more likely forgotten by a small-sized citizen while out playing. As it happens, my friend next door has three kids, so naturally I assumed it belonged to them and tried to return it. Nope, said my friend. The next day, a man strolling by made a valiant attempt at the same good deed. Overnight, yet another “helpful” neighbour diligently placed the scooter back on my friend’s front lawn. They say you can kill with kindness – in this case, maybe it’s killing the grass.

I’ll bet you see it in your corner, too. People in your neighbourhood who don’t hesitate to help out. Sure, when something big happens – a birth, a death, a long-term illness – everyone can be expected to troop in with casseroles and cakes and your dry cleaning. But on a day-to-day basis, in many close-knit neighbourhoods there’s almost a steady buzz of benevolence that reverberates through a community. (Hear that? Or am I just picking up on the cluster of wasps that have been trying to build a nest under my front window?)

Yes, some of it is sneaky. All of it is well meant. Even if it does kill the grass.