Growing up we didn’t have any real neighbors. I mean there were 2 families who lived about a mile up the canyon from us but they didn’t really count because like I said, they were a mile away. Across the creek from our house sits a little cabin which belongs to this grandma and grandpa aged couple who would come up to stay for a week every summer. So for 358 out of the 365 days a year it was just us. But those 7 or so days when they came it was like the circus had come to town. We looked forward to this all year long. We never knew exactly when they were coming, but you could always count on at least one summer visit from them. They would roll up in their little station wagon and quietly unpack their goods. They were really looking for some peace and quite away from it all, and what they got were 7 bored kids who thought they were the biggest novelty around. News of their arrival would spread like wildfire through our house.
“Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor are HERE!” one of us would scream. Seconds later and we were pouring out of doors and windows, out of huts and bushes, out of the creek we had been wading in. Soon they were surrounded, bombarded with what can only be described as a pack of unruly children who had been on summer break way too long. They were always so sweet to us. If they couldn’t stand us they never let on. They always would have treats for us, treats that my mom never bought because again there were 7 of us and we would have eaten them in 2 seconds, and treats that only grandmas and grandpas have like Whoppers and Nilla Wafers. My Mother had to have loved it when they came. This meant she finally had something to occupy us and she could have a few moments of peace to regain her sanity.
Do you know that to this very day, 28 years into my life I do not know their real names. I have no clue. We always called them Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor. To their face even. I would go bopping over their and say “Hey Mr. Neighbor whatcha doin?” and he would just smile and visit with me. Funny enough we never called anyone else Mr. or Mrs. I didn’t even call my friends parents Mr. and Mrs. That special title was reserved only for Neighbors.
I remember one summer my Best Cousin Shanna was up for a visit and we desperately wanted to be invited over by Mr. and Mrs. N so we devised a plan. We decided to get all dressed up and dance around in front of their gate until they saw how cute we were and motioned for us to come over. We ran to the dress up clothes, which back in the day consisted of a few of my Mom’s old Prom dresses, a couple left over bridesmaids gowns, and one white puffy slip that went under her wedding dress. We must have picked out some good outfits because it work, they invited us over for more treats.
I loved their small little cabin too. It was so small that they had a twin sized bed in the living room so they could fit more people. I thought it was the best concept ever! I always thought that one day when I grew up I would have a bed in my living room too. It was much more fun to watch TV that way. Their teeny tiny TV sat on a little metal TV tray, and they had this big area rug that I am pretty sure was homemade.
Their acreage was too small to get a permit to put a septic tank so they had an outhouse instead. A real life outhouse. And you wondered why we thought they were so novel. They were like freakin pioneers.
They used to have a little bird house that was an exact replica of their cabin and they had it on a post out by the creek. When they weren’t there the boys mostly would have contests to see who could hit it with rocks. No wonder they ended up taking it down. Plus hanging in the tree they had an old doll house they turned into another bird house. I loved it. And when they were gone we loved to turn on their water spout and get drinks out of it. I think it was actually creek water, we probably shouldn’t have drank that.
I loved Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor with all my heart. They will always have a special place in my memory.