Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Moving Experience

While you may feel various emotions while reading this, the title isn't intended to mean that type of moving.  My neighbors across the street sold their home, and early this afternoon they backed an incredibily small U-Haul truck up to the garage door and began packing it up.

They moved here in the summer of 2003 from Vermont, and the reason I remember it is because that's the summer that Katie was getting ready to go to Mary Washington College.  I was distracted, but I made it over to welcome the couple to the neighborhood.  I invited them to church.  She showed me her new dining room furniture which looked like something from Southern Living.  At our house when we say something looks like it came from Southern Living, that is the epitome of the finest decor.  I felt a little out-classed by our new neighbors. 

Time passed.  Katie went to college, and we grieved.  She transferred to a different college.  Our neighbor retired.  He had back surgery.  Our dogs died.  Katie graduated.  The hamster died.  I had cancer.  I retired.  Through all of it, we just did not talk to our neighbors much.  When I belonged to Curves, she did, too, and we occasionally chatted while we worked out.  But Larry told me that the husband wouldn't speak to him when they were doing yard work at the same time.  If the neighbor were outside, he didn't even look our way when we came out.  I don't know that I ever heard the sound of his voice.

The neigbors often had get-togethers, though.  We knew there would be a party when the porch light went on in the evenings, and soon after cars pulled up in the driveway and delivered smiling people to the doorway.  I always imagined that she was an excellent cook who designed original, complicated menus.

When the "For Sale" sign went up in the yard, our neighbor to the right of us said, "They won't have anything to do with anybody except the people who go to their church."  Yeah, there's a sermon in that statement somewhere. 

I am terminally nosy, so I spent too much time this afternoon watching them load the truck.  I discovered that, from the rocker in my upstairs bedroom, I could look right over to the garage door and the back of the U-Haul.  I wondered if I could slip over there with that box of odd detritus I cleaned out of our attic?  They wouldn't notice it until they unpacked. Several of their friends came to help them. Those are the kind of friends I want:  someone who will help you move on a 90-degree day.  As the afternoon wore on, the sweat patches expanded on the men's shirts, and they kept going inside where I hoped they were getting plenty of water.

I don't know where they're moving or why they're moving, but I desperately want to know.  Are they moving to Florida?  Were they discouraged when they moved south from Vermont and found crusty cold winters?  Are they moving to Wilmington, NC, or to Johnson City, TN?  We often talk about moving to Johnson City.  Are they moving closer to their children?  Will they live in a retirement community with exceptionally low homeowner's fees and paths where you can drive your golf cart to Wal-mart? 

When I saw the neighbors working this afternoon, I anticipated that very same thing for us and whether it would be a happy event or a sad event.  When Larry retires, we may start looking, but we don't even know where we want to go.  It could be to a brand new house with no stairs and a beautifully landscaped patio.  To do that, though, we'd have to leave our beautiful kitchen we had remodeled last summer and our yard that we've spent nearly 20 years colonizing with heirloom flowers.  

I regret not knowing my neighbors better. I'm going to believe that they are making a happy move to a great house where they will be contented and fulfilled.  Whether it was by their choice or my lack of initiative, we weren't close friends, but I had a sense of loss when they started packing the truck this afternoon.

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