26 June 2009

Do You Want a Beer?

I grew up in a typical, residential neighborhood in West Virginia. They were sixty-year-old homes (your typical three small bedrooms, one bathroom, single-level houses) that were nothing special, except for the people who lived in them. Across the street from us (and still living there to this day) were Clyde and Goldie. Seriously. Those are their names. They met as young barely-out-of-their-teens at the beginning of WWII and are just the sweetest people ever. And on their front porch is just the most awesome swing. We would sit on the swing and talk about WWII and Clyde's years in the Navy, and dish on the neighbors (GOD! Could Mrs. Hubbard's hair get any BLUER?). When I moved to Georgia I envied my mom and dad, and later just mom, and their time on Goldie's and Clyde's porch swing.

The Ty-man and I are currently in our second house since our wedding 14 years ago. And in neither home have we had our own Clyde and Goldie. We've never sat on our porch with neighbors or on the porches of others, sharing news of our lives, neighborhood gossip, and experiences.

Until last night. The HOA President (and my immediate next-door neighbor) and I have a lot to talk about and not just HOA BS. We both have interests in science (Me=physics, Her=chemistry), we read the same books, we have similar political philosophies, and we laugh about the same stupid crap. When I noticed that she and her husband were on their porch, I just damned the torpedoes and went over. And Mr. HOA President asked, Hey! You wanna beer?

And I drank that beer. I talked and commiserated and laughed and so did they. We sat on their front stoop and just were.

It wasn't a porch in West Virginia. There wasn't a swing. Neither Clyde nor Goldie were there. And we didn't talk about WWII or Mrs. Hubbard's blue hair. But that moment last night was just as good as all the other moments from my fading memory.

And I can't wait to have more.

25 comments:

Tuli said...

I have a neighbor who walks her dog and we often chat over the fence when she walks by. Luckily, her dog is very patient. We have the best conversations!

sybil law said...

Nothing like having good, friendly neighbors.
Except my husband gets too friendly and they spend too much time here.
Hey! I am a hermit.
:P

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Nice. It's something that has faded from America's society. Neighbors are people we should know better. Invite him over for a beer at your own stoop!

Bucky said...

But still, it wasn't a porch in West Virginia.

Molly's Mom said...

Good for you! We are finding that we have some good neighbors as well, although none that I have a ton in common with. Oh well! I guess I'm just too unique ;)

Beverly said...

That is great! I love going to the neighbors porch and chatting. Never know what you will discuss.

Gypsy said...

It often feels to me like neighborhoods as we knew them as children are dying. I'm glad to hear they may have some life in them yet.

Employee No. 3699 said...

One of our neighbors at our last house would bring over a six pack when ever he saw my husband outside.

Laura said...

Neighbors who become neighbor-friends are truly wonderful. I just moved and at first I thought the downstairs neighbor was friendly. I have since discovered that there is a line between friendly and ANNOYING. No beers with her.

So is anyone buying a swing?

Jeni said...

Probably because the bulk of the houses in this village where I have lived the majority of my life were built around the turn of the century, almost all these houses have a front porch, often with a swing. Originally, my house had a porch -sort of a half-wrap-around -which was later converted into a sun porch on the front and the side portion was transformed into a new kitchen. (That was done back around 1935-1939.) Today, that sunporch is now re-transformed and serves as my tiny bedroom.
But as a kid, our neighbors across the street -Albert and Toodie -(who were like family to my family) had a nice big front porth, with a glider on one end and a big swing on the other and we kids would relish going up there to sit on the swing and chat with Albert. He always treated the kids with the same respect and caring as he did the adults who came to call on him and talk about whatever was important in their day back then.
Today, many here -myself included -have another porch, usually on the back or side of the house -a deck. They're nice but the old-timn flavor seems to be lost, not many neighbors these days it seems who go visiting and spend time chatting amongst themselves and enjoying the comfort and cozy feelings that seem only generated by that swing!

hello haha narf said...

i'm so happy for you! i should be a better neighbor, but i am always rushing in or out and simply don't have time. yay for you making time!

DutchBitch said...

That is SO cool! I share that with one neighbor here in the apt building but she is moving away soon :(((

Patois said...

The morphing of neighbors into friends is something to behold. Lucky you.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Tuli - That's awesome, hon!

Sybil Law - Hee hee! Hey, being a hermit isn't all that bad. :)

Tracey - I definitely will!

Bucky - True. If it had been a WV porch, there would have been 'shine involved. :)

Molly's Mom - You are, darlin'!

Beverly - That's what I love about it. You may talk. You may just be quiet enjoying the company. It's all good.

Gypsy - They are dying. Our society is more on the internet that on the streets. I mean, I guess you could say this blog is my front porch. :) You wanna beer?

Employee No. 3699 - I think that's just awesome.

Laura - Well, I would buy a swing, but these porches down here are more like stoops. Not enough room. Blech.

Jeni - You're right. The main outdoor seating areas have now been designed to be used on the back of the house, not the front. The focus has gone from socializing with the neighbors to socializing with oneself and I think that's sad, really.

Hello Haha Narf - Well, to be honest? If I had a full-time out-of-the-home job? I wouldn't socialize either. :) It's being home all day that does it.

DutchBitch - That's sad, hon! Hope the new neighbor is social, as well!

Patois - Definitely lucky.

Annie said...

I hear ya! I grew up in the same kind of neighborhood - just a few miles away! We've gotten lucky where we are now - mostly great neighbors, mostly older than us. But, they're friendly, and I KNOW my kids will never get away with anything! hahaha Revenge will be sweet one day. But really, neighbors are one of the main reasons we chose our old house in the downtown residential area instead of the outer subdivisions... Big front porches (w/ swings), detached garages in the back, and until last January, an elementary school 4 blocks away... (Now it's a 2 mile bus ride for my almost-K son.) Enjoy the friendships...

Avitable said...

Very cool. I don't know any of my neighbors that well, although one of them will chat with me occasionally. I've never been in his house, though.

B.E. Earl said...

I try to be kindly to my neighbors, but it isn't as easy as it sounds. Friends of mine have the greatest relationships with their neighbors. I think the three houses have merged into one party, at times. Very cool.

Ashlie- Mommycosm said...

Oy, yay! It's so cool to enjoy having neighbors.

We have THAT kind of neighborhood...we're on a cul-de-sac with 14 other houses. We're friendly with most - and have become really good friends with 3 of the houses. All have kids and dogs, like us. We have a huge farmer's porch off the back of our house and a bar in our basement that gets frequented by the locals;) It's awesome.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

That is awesome. I miss that neighborhood feeling. I am so glad you are staring to cultivate it. You never know until you try, and you totally called it on this one. You may have been missing the swing, but you certainly weren't missing the company.

A Free Man said...

Goodonya, I think we'd be a happier people if we spent more time talking to our neighbors.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Annie - That's awesome that they'll tell on the kids! HA!

Avitable - You've probably never been in his house for good reason. :)

B.E. Earl - Oh, I think that's awesome that the three houses are one party.

MommyCosm - I think it's great that you have such good relationships with most of them.

NATUI - I'm getting there.

A Free Man - So very true.

Miss Britt said...

Oh man, I miss my old neighbors.

It's funny - because we'd be standing in my driveway talking and he'd say "oh, hey, you wanna beer?"

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Miss Britt - That was the one thing about Goldie and Clyde, they never offered a beer. But that porch swing more than made up for it. :)

Juliette said...

I like your story because it reminds me of a person in my life who I "met" very late. We were neighbors for years but months before she died we just met each other on a bank of a lake. (Our houses are on the bank). We just started talking which was unusual because we were neighbors for so long and we never actually spoke before. That day was amazing because we finally spoke to each other. Sadly, we shared moments only for a month more before she died. Since then one thought passes through my mind: How many nice talks we've missed for no reason? How many things could I've learned from that lady? I'll never know, but I try not to miss another opportunity to meet someone. You never know how nice can be the person next door, so you better get to know him/her.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Juliette - Amen, sister!