24 years ago when we moved into our current home, there were a few houses on the block inhabited by much older people. We were in our early 30s at the time and most likely thought the older neighbors were ancient. They had lived in their homes here since the homes were built in the 1940s.
Well, guess what? We are those older neighbors now. We’ve been here longer than anyone. The people much older than us have died off and their houses are inhabited by younger families. The neighborhood is alive with the sound of young children playing and family dogs barking. We’re even having a block party today as we do once or twice a year, complete with streets closed off, big inflated games for the kids, tables of potluck dishes, lawn chairs, coolers of drinks, and corn hole in the street. It’s nice in a world where neighbors interact less and less.
Our children are long gone at ages 32 and 28. That’s much closer to the age of most of the parents and home owners on the block now. So we’ll be the only ones present at the block party today with no children. Maybe we should borrow our granddaughter for the event to fit in.
It’s interesting how one’s role changes merely by living and not by doing anything intentionally to change that role. When the younger families move into the nearby houses today, what do they think when they see my wife or me outside? Do they think we’re ancient just like we thought of others when we moved in? Are they wondering when we might die off so a younger family can bring more life to the house? Whatever they think, it’s our job to just be good neighbors, not to do anything stupid or rude that hurts relationships, to avoid any impulse to shout “Get off my lawn!” like Clint Eastwood in the movie Gran Torino, and to just be ourselves in and around our own little castle.
Strange… I don’t feel 24 years older, but leap year lesson #148 is still Now we’re the old folks on the block.