Loaning the Lawnmower

Dearest Rachel –

Whenever you are able, ·do [L do not withhold] good to people who ·need help [or deserve it]. If you have what your neighbor asks for, don’t say, “Come back later. I will give it to you tomorrow.”

Proverbs 3:27,28, Expanded Bible

I’ve already been working on a letter for you, which when I finish it will be time stamped before this one, but this is probably news that you would want to know about. Actually, if you were still around, you would’ve already known about it when it happened. As for me, I guess I’m just not that kind of neighbor.

I think you might remember about how Mrs. B, our neighbor to the south, have been picked up by the EMTs late last year. She eventually came back, according to Mr. B, and he was taking care of her as she tried to recover. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what it was that she’d been stricken with. I want to say heart attack, but don’t quote me.

I don’t recall if I wrote you about this when it happened, but maybe a week or so ago, there was a middle-aged lady walking down the street, asking neighbors if they’d had any security cameras on the night before. Her story was that her father (who, based on her gesturing, apparently lived a couple doors to the north) had fallen down the stairs in the wee hours of the morning, and suffered a fatal injury in the process. She added that his front (or maybe it was the garage?) door have been tampered with, as if with a crowbar, and she was hoping to find video evidence of who might have alarmed him such that he made for the basement at such an odd hour. Compounding the situation was the fact that her mother had passed away barely a month before. I responded that I couldn’t help her, as we had no security cameras on our house, And preoccupied as I was with your passing, I was unaware of anything that happened in the neighborhood.

It was at this point that she interrupted with shock, asking “are you saying that Rachel’s passed away? I’m so sorry!” Well, now it was my turn to offer condolences, as I expect two parents trump one spouse. And now I was slightly embarrassed, as I didn’t know who I was talking to, but she clearly knew you.

Anyway, at this point I think you can figure out what’s going on. This was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B, our next door neighbors to the south. And I’ve only just figured this out today.

And most other days, I wouldn’t have even been able to do that. It was simply because I was out on a Saturday mowing the lawn. Which would be a regular enough occurrence for most people (and it would’ve been for me too, back in the not too distant past), except that these days, my schedule is flexible to the point of practically being a Gordian knot.

Still, here I am out and about, when a young fellow across the fence gestures to me, at which point I let go of the lawnmower’s run bar, and head over to discover what he wants to ask. It’s at this point that he feels me in on the situation, and that middle aged woman asking about our security camera would have been familiar to you because Daniel and her son Alex would play together in the backyard from time to time when they were little.

And yes, this big guy asking me if he can borrow my lawnmower (because his grandfather’s doesn’t seem to be working anymore, even though it was working just last month) is little Alex.


It seems our three houses have lost quite a bit lately. Mrs. M lost her husband only a few years ago to his neurological condition, then you left, and now both Mr. and Mrs. B are gone. Meanwhile, Alex has certainly grown up – which stands to reason, since he is about Daniel’s age. Maybe a little younger, but I’m pretty sure that by now, he’s outlived the members of the 27 Club too.

Anyway, I let him know that I’m still working on the yard, but I’m more than happy to let him use it, as long as he returns it in decent condition when he’s done with it. That’s what neighbors are for, after all, although I haven’t had much opportunity to be that kind of neighbor – nor have I asked any other neighbor to be like that for me. Our neighborhood just isn’t like that, not really like the one Mom and Dad live in.

And I guess at this point, it’s going to change that much more. Don’t know what Alex and his family are going to do with the house. I’d say I’d keep you posted, but if past history is an indication, I probably won’t find out about what’s happening until a month after it has.

Still, I’ll let you know what I know when I know it. Talk to you later – and sooner.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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