Blessed With Good Neighbors

Look in the dictionary under “good neighbors” and you’ll find an aerial photograph of the Ohio Valley. Snow storms this winter have convinced me of that.

It takes adversity to bring out the best in people, but here’s the interesting thing about that: So many area residents put their best foot forward when they learn of neighbors facing adversity.

During the past few weeks, good Samaritanism has been on display in my neighborhood. After one snowfall, a couple of kids showed up and volunteered to shovel the driveway.

While the power was out at my house, my next-door neighbor went out of his way to tip me off about a good buy on electric generators (not to mention one of the few places that had them).

Another neighbor, noticing that my driveway was blocked by snow, told me to feel free to park in his, even if my car did block his wife’s.

And a few days ago, not one but two neighbors showed up – one with a tractor, the other with a truck – to help pull my wife’s car out of the snow.

On another morning, after a brutal snowfall, I started down the entrance road at my subdivision, wondering how many trees had fallen across it. There were several – but neighbors already had cleared them away.

Then there was the call from yet another neighbor who knew my power was out and thought I might like to know about a local lodging establishment that was offering discount rates to the snowbound – and that accepted pets.

My story is far from unique. I know that, without asking anyone – because of where I live. Were I to attempt to devote just one line to each of the good deeds done by my neighbors after storms, floods, etc., during the past few years, I would not have enough room on this page. Literally.

What is it about Northern Panhandle and East Ohio residents that makes them such good neighbors? Something in the water? I don’t know, but I do know that not everywhere is like our valley. In lots of other places, my wife and I would have fended for ourselves during the recent snowstorms.

Lack of job opportunities often prompt young people to leave the Ohio Valley. That’s understandable; it’s awfully nice to be receiving a paycheck.

But some of them are forced to move to places where good neighbors are hard to find, where it is every man for himself.

Even with all the challenges we face, there is something to be said for a place like ours – where friends, often people we’ve never met, are all around us.

P.S. – To my new neighbor, originally from Michigan: Give me a call. I owe you a tow strap to replace the one you broke on my wife’s car, but to which, in your eagerness to help, you didn’t give a second thought.

Myer can be reached via e-mail at: