When a Brick in Your Wall Hits the Road (Long Gone Neighbor Blues)*

Bing.com describes neighbor as a ‘fellow human being’.

Yup, that pretty much says it all.

They lived in their home for 40+ years. For the last 17 years, we jointly held the title of ‘neighbor’.

Unlike some next-door-dwellers whose lives intertwine to point of practically becoming family, we respected the boundary from both sides. Waves and smiles floated from driveway to driveway often. An over-the-fence shout in the dark confirmed that YES, both homes had indeed lost power in the bad storm. And when the snowplow came by to confirm that the shoveling was not quite done, it distributed its cruel reminder evenly.

I can’t say that we ever crashed each other’s family celebrations, blew out the candles on a birthday cake, or fired up the blender on a Saturday afternoon.

So why is my heart aching now that they are gone?  

There are some people placed in our lives to be brightly colored shutters for all to enjoy, and others are, all in all, just bricks in our wall (to quote The Floyd).

We’ve all got friends who’d be the first ones out the door if we wanted to go dancing or jump out of a plane, but we may not trust them to bring in our mail or keep the canary alive while we’re away.

The pet-feeders, plant-waterers and mail-gatherers are important people. They keep the machine running smoothly. They are a built-in security system. They are downright neighborly, always.

Whether we’re across town or half-way around the world, these are the people we trust with our lives and hidden-in-the-fake-rock extra set of keys.

Because of them, we can sleep soundly and know that our home and its privacy are in good hands.

Who are the friendly bricks in YOUR foundation?

Who are the ones you trust most?

Perhaps you haven’t thought of them in a while, because they simply aren’t flashy enough to stand out.

Their phone number may not be on speed-dial under ‘Vacation in Mexico’ but they’re certainly right up there ahead of the pizza guy’s digits.

Perhaps this is a good week to wave an extra-friendly wave to these people, to thank them for ‘just being good neighbors’, and to remind them of why YOU fit the bill.

While Paul and DeeDee are now gone, and my heart does feel a void, I am thankful that they helped US to become better neighbors as well.

I look forward to seeing the moving truck that brings a new opportunity to help re-solidify our foundation, to become a neighborly new brick in the wall.

Thank YOU, my neighbors in motivation, for accepting these weekly messages, like freshly-baked cookies passed over the digital fence. Hope you enjoy them!

* This article was inspired by my dear friend ‘Lady D’ after she shared her story with me at lunch. I hope I’ve done it justice.



  1. Steve, this post really touched my heart. I moved from a neighborhood I had lived in for almost 20 years and left behind neighbors that I loved dearly. Even though I am only a 5 minute drive from them, there is nothing like living next door to people. I am grateful for my new neighbors and hopefully, in time, will feel as close to them as I did with my previous ones…: D

  2. What a lovely post Steve! I am very blessed to live in a beautiful rural spot where all of our neighbors feel like family… and we have actually been known to crash one another’s parties once in a while ;). It certainly adds to a good quality of life – thanks for the reminder 🙂

  3. I moved here 3 years ago and I am still adjusting to city life. I love being close to all the amenities and I am getting to know some of my neighbors but I do miss home. Part of my issue here is knowing that IO am not staying here. We are moving within two years. Its been challenging. great post, really touched me.

  4. A great reminder here Steve to pay attention to those who are there for us but sometimes get forgotten. Your post made me think about who I haven’t seen for a while and make a mental note to catch up and be a better neighbour.
    Thanks Steve!

  5. I moved into the country a few months back, which was a much different vibe neighbor-wise. My neighbors are friendly help us out when needed and wave to us as well. That’s a bit different than the city, where I had to scream at the neighbors because of partying at 3 am. Thanks for sharing that beautiful post, Steve. Here’s to good neighbors!

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