Tuesday, December 13, 2022

            Talking to a friend about children’s attention spans and our instant world one day made me think of neighbors. In the biblical sense you can consider anyone your neighbor, but I was thinking of the over the fence ‘Wilson’ from the show Home Improvement. You know those people you wave to every once and a while and kind of make up what you don’t know about them. Mr. Rogers used to call everyone watching his neighbor and invited you to be one. I think he used this term to mean someone close to you, like a friend.

             When is the last time you had to borrow something from a neighbor? I know in small towns and in the country, it happens all the time. I borrow tools from one of my neighbors every now and then. My wife wonders why it takes me so long, but we end up talking a little and taking an interest in each other’s life. I usually learn something I didn’t know, and then we vent about the latest Husker game or the weather. I had a neighbor come over just yesterday to talk about hunting and stuff. His wife called and asked if we had any shredded cheese. We did, bought extra when it was on sale, and it was in the freezer. This made me think because before they asked for cheese, they wanted to know what time the grocery store closed. It was after hours, and they just needed it for a supper recipe.

               When I lived in Omaha there was always something open, a 24-hour Walmart, gas station, hardware stores open on Sunday. Now there is Amazon home delivery, and streaming services that deliver movies. One thing I have always tried to do, even in Omaha, was meet my neighbors. But, I never got to know them as well as when I lived in smaller communities and on the farm. Probably because I didn’t ‘need’ to talk to them. In smaller communities and rural areas neighbors share more than a fence line or a wave, we share our lives. There isn’t always something open on the weekends and I remember on more than one occasion my mom sending me to get a cup of sugar from the neighbor for a recipe. If it was cookies, we usually brought them some as a thank you.

               I did like living in Omaha, but the bonds you create with your neighbors in smaller towns can never be duplicated. I am happy to be back in Thayer County to raise a family and have neighbors look out for our kids. I used to be upset when people would call my mom and tell her I was driving around town on a school permit, but now I look forward to those calls. It takes a village of good people to raise children, I know I don’t know everything about parenthood. It is also very fun to get to know the people you share a community with.             

               Banker Frank, my grandfather, had some good advice. He said, “There were times where I would have an argument with someone in the community or we didn’t get along that week. I always made sure to sit next to them in church.” We all must share the same pew, church, grocery store, or school in small towns. Sometimes you must swallow your pride to get along. Sometimes you just need to borrow a hammer to get to know your neighbor.

- Adam Bruning, Loan Officer