What is a neighborhood? Is it static or electric? Should it include people whose faces are recognizable and those who will look out for you and your home along the way? How many of us have that nowadays? The other day a bicyclist came up our drive and stopped in the middle observing our home. My husband and I were home during the weekday and he went out to ask what he wanted. The bicyclist waved my husband away, observed our home again, and then reluctantly left our driveway standing outside our postbox at the end looking at the house across the street and other homes in the immediate area. My husband felt uncomfortable and a few minutes later went to walk our pug stopping by to talk with a neighbor who informed him that a couple of men had been seen in the immediate area searching the area. He felt like they were “casing the joint.” It happens in neighborhoods and since our schedule is varied, our home and our hours are difficult to pinpoint. Yet we try to look out for one another.

The other day, the pug and I went for a walk in the afternoon. I passed by a home that was boarded up. Not that long ago, I remembered speaking with a lady in her 70’s about her home, the pretty garden in the front and our lives. She told me that her husband, a retired Deputy had recently passed away and in the same breathe informed me that the trees in her front yard had secret cameras. I smiled and thought she was a little afraid of living alone and sympathized with her new situation. Well, if you have been following my blog which I started in 2013, you know that my husband and I owned a cupcake store called Cupcake Cache which we closed when my husband became ill and he is now recovering or staying cancer free this year. A new job came along for me, and a new dog. So, getting back to the story, I don’t remember the last time I met this lady. It might have been before I left for the year teaching in the Middle East which would make it before 2010. Wow, time flies. So, looking out for neighbors, about a half a mile or so away, I choose the same route twice in one week. I noticed a scruffy rather rough looking young man knock on the door; someone opened and they appeared to argue and then he left storming around the side of the home. Well, I remembered this charming older lady and feeling concerned, the following week, I knocked on the door. After 5 minutes, the door opened and before me was a man in his late 50’s or so. I stammered a greeting and told him my concern about the man knocking on the door and asked “wasn’t there a lady living here?”

After I told him my last conversation with her, he told me that was his mom and she had died of cancer. The house was now his and that was his roommate although he anticipated moving shortly. I noticed the cobwebs around the door and the caked mud hiding ants and bugs near the roof; the garden didn’t look as nice but there was the enormous concrete toad which I had always admired standing guard in the doorway. I asked him if there would be an estate sale. He inferred that he would probably throw away some things and immediately I inquired about the frog. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Take it if you want it.” So, I thanked him and left dragging the toad with one hand and the pug with the other. When I returned, my husband was on the phone with his son, Josh, and I was so glad that he was there and I had someone waiting for me. I know that there will be a day when I don’t have someone or when our home is empty with only one person living in it. But that day isn’t today, so I picked up the toad and plunked him down in our front garden where he observes any person in our immediate vicinity. I thought of that woman informing me of the cameras in the trees and I realize that she might have been very lonely and very scared. That happens, and I wondered if someone knocked on my door and I was all alone would I tell them the same thing? You are being observed by cameras. The camera may be in the concrete frog on the porch or it may be in the trees but you are not alone. I am not alone.

Enjoy the day.