New neighbors were up for coffee a few days ago, and we were talking about all sorts of things. The condition of our road, the highway department, life in general, and then the subject of neighbors came up. And we were given the "rules of the road" for neighboring. Apparently, there are two rules, and they are...
- If you ask a neighbor for help, they will be there. All you have to do is ask. And....
- If you don't ask, you'll be left alone.
Only time will tell if these rules are indeed true, but I have to say I love the concept(s).
Taking these in reverse order, here's what they say to me. In general, people leave people alone to live their lives the way they want to live them. As long as you're not bothering or hurting anyone, go for it. Your life is your business, experience it. You want to try your hand at a new skill? Do it. You want to start a new project at your home? Have at it. Whatever. It's your life to live.
I think this also feeds into something else I've noticed. For the most part, Montanans aren't complainers. If something happens, they deal with it. Later on, they'll tell someone what happened and that person will say, "why didn't you call me? I would have helped!" Because most people just handle whatever life throws at them.
So if you do ask for help, obviously you need it. You wouldn't ask if you didn't. And if you need help, your neighbors will be there for you. Having that security blanket wrapped around you is such a wonderful thing. Different neighbors were explaining about getting stuck on a specific icy hill near our home. And they shared how another neighbor heard about the issue, immediately went to get their tractor and chains, and went down to pull that car back to safety. Another neighbor told me that someone had asked him to bring them to their house which was up on a mountain, and the neighbor dropped everything, put chains on the truck, and got that person home. We've had people offer their tools and equipment to us ("if you need it, just come get it.") Talk about the real meaning of being a neighbor. The reverse is true of course. If someone needed our help, they just have to ask. We'll be there.
But that's not the only advice I've received. I learned I should leave a pair of shoes in the car with some sort of cleats or studs in case I need to walk somewhere on ice. And I should keep an eye out for wild animals in my area. I learned the best places in the area for picking huckleberries. I also had someone in my home recently to give me an estimate on a particular product. And he provided his thoughts. He said, "If you love it when you move here, it'll only get better." Apparently, people move to Montana and do NOT love it. Those people may eventually grow to like the area and people, or not. But if you move in and love it right off the bat, he said life here will only get better and better. Well, I guess we're in good shape then!
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Originally published at thehousekat.com.