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One of my neighbors recently had emergency surgery that put her out of commission for a couple of weeks. What was touching about the recovery period is that the neighbors picked up the slack in her household duties. "You're so sweet," she said to the neighbors who did this.

What did they do? One neighbor boarded her dog. Another neighbor rolled in her garbage cans and paid her gardener. Another made a text group to keep everyone up to date about her progress. Now that she's back, other neighbors are walking her dog, bringing her food, and checking in to see how she's recovering, and if she needs anything. Her family is helping too, but neighbors are really stepping up.

Now that she's back, other neighbors are walking her dog, bringing her food, and checking in to see how she's recovering, and if she needs anything.

Another neighbor had to leave town for a funeral. The neighborhood sweetie across the street cared for her cat, took care of her garbage cans, and kept an eye on the house. Another neighbor lost her husband to COVID-19, and still talks about how the neighbors stepped up for emotional support.

How did this all happen?

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1. Several neighbors own dogs and met each other as they walked. That made acquaintances and friends.

2. The neighbor with emergency surgery likes throwing parties and teas, so the neighborhood made even more connections as she invited neighbors.

3. We made a map of the neighborhood with our addresses, emails and phone numbers. We update the map as the neighborhood changes, but those contacts, even people who don't stay in touch often, are all available. This is what a Neighborhood Watch recommends, incidentally. It makes the neighborhood more cohesive and safer since no one needs to be alone, with help just a phone call away.

defunding the police is a start

These are all sweet things, and a nice counterpoint to the constant news about selfish behavior. We're actually happier when we're more connected and taking care of each other, not just when we're watching out for number one.

It takes a little time and attention, but you can have such a neighborhood, too.

Mark Dempsey
It's Simpler Than It Looks