Friday, July 29, 2011

Like a Good Neighbor

"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." ~Author Unknown

I looked up, standing on the ground at the bottom of the ladder. It was a long way up. At that point I had no other choice but to be completely honest with my wife.
"I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this."

We were hanging a tire swing on the tallest strongest tree in our backyard. Trust me... it was a long way up.

It's not that I didn't want to do it. I just didn't think I could.

A long way up... and down.
You see, I'm not so good with the heights. Actually, it's not so much the heights... it's the falling I'm afraid of. I climbed the ladder... the same ladder my next-door neighbor had left in our yard an hour or so earlier when he helped us measure how long of a chain we would need to hang this swing.

Climbing the ladder fifteen feet was an accomplishment. Granted, it took me about ninety seconds as I crawled up there one rung at a time, holding on for dear life to both sides with both hands. As I ascended. I scouted out the area on the branch where I'd place the swing. Then I looked down. Bad idea.

"It's not the climbing the ladder that worries me," I admitted to my wife. "It's the being up here without being able to hold on while I'm wrapping a chain around this branch.

Just thinking about that activity while writing that last sentence made me nervous.

So I called my next-door neighbor again. I left him a message on his voicemail. "I have to come clean," I said. "I'm afraid of heights. I need your help again."

Once he returned from his fatherly duties of the day, he called me back. He laughed at my message of confession, told me not to worry about it. He assured me that his fearlessness when it comes to ladders is the anomoly. He was being too kind to protect my pride.

We were swinging in no time
He came over right away, sprinted up that ladder like a hungry squirrel, and within five minutes the swing was hung... with him wrapping the chain around the branch, fastening the hook, then descending with the speed and agility of Spiderman.

I don't like to say "can't," and I don't like for the peanut to say it, either... but I just can't do that.

So thank goodness for great neighbors, like mine. The kind of neighbors who will lug extension ladders into your yard and then climb them for you. Who will answer the phone at 7:30 on a Saturday morning because you want to make your daughter pancakes but you're inexplicably out of eggs. The kind of neighbors who will come over at a moment's notice one evening to watch your daughter when your dog is suddenly sick and you're freaking out about it and have to take her to the emergency vet.

Do you have neighbors like that? I do. What a nice place to live. Safe and close to sea level.

I followed my own advice to overcome my fear of heights while on a family vacation last summer.  Click here to read about it.


  1. I love this post! We have great neighbors - we live in the country and our neighbors have chickens - I love that I can load up the kids and hike over and get as many eggs as I need w/o having to drive 20 miles to town. I also love that about a month ago, I was having a Mommy Meltdown and was in the yard freaking out (so the kids couldn't see) and our neighbor walked out, handed me a beer, hugged me, and went home without a word.

  2. That is awesome. Funny story: Our neighbors are vegetarians and I didn't know when we first moved in. I called them and asked if they could recommend a good burger place in town. She was like "Uh, we're probably not the best people to ask." hahaha. We joke about it now.


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