Ever since we moved into our house I’ve been lamenting the fact that our neighbors have made little effort to be social. It didn’t help that the week after we moved in, the house next to us and the house across the street were both vacated by renters whose leases were up. I had pretty much given up on making friends in my hood, but as with most things in life, as soon as you stop trying, they happen naturally.

Jim and I took the dogs for a walk yesterday evening, and while we were on our way, we heard an older man call out to us form his front yard, asking for help. He stood in his yard, attempting to reposition a wrought iron fountain taller then himself, and was failing miserably. I took the dogs while Jim jumped in to provide assistance.

Our neighbor, Yaakov, had such a thick Russian accent that it was difficult to distinguish exactly what he wanted done with the fountain, but through sign language and patience, Jim was able to work with him to transport it to its new home.

Yaakov thanked us profusely and continually told us he would pray for us. He insisted on running into his house to get us cans of soda and beer, despite the fact that we declined the offer multiple times.

It was a strange way to meet a neighbor, but imagine my delight that at long last we had made contact with someone in our neighborhood. We were so excited that as we continued home we introduced ourselves to another neighbor down the street.

Bill, a gay, 60-year-old retired school teacher, was thrilled to meet us and tell us about marrying his partner a few months ago in Cape Cod. He didn’t offer us any beverages as Yaakov had, but we were confident we’d made a good impression.

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