We live in a tucked away neighborhood about 25 miles outside of Charlotte. When we first relocated to North Carolina 23 years ago, I spent about a month searching for our new home.
The company that SM worked for at the time had given him a nice relocation package with lots of assistance and perks, one of them being an assigned realty company to help us (i.e. me) in finding the perfect abode.
The relator assigned to me was a 79 year old southern belle named Pearl.
Don't you love it? Pearl.
Anyway, a few times a week Pearl would pick me up in her big ole Lincoln Continental and squire me around to the various neighborhoods offering homes that she thought might appeal to me.
Strangely, she always tried to get me interested in those big popular subdivisions within the city limits, or just outside of them. They had micro back yards and HOA's. Cul-de-sacks, tons of kids on bicycles and vinyl siding.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. It just wasn't us.
I had to remind her often that I was a country girl at heart and that SM and I didn't mind the commute into town for work. We enjoyed living in a neighborhood but we did want a home with a sizable yard and more than a few feet away from our neighbors.
Pearl didn't find our home. I did.
Our neighborhood was about halfway completed at the time. Our house was 10 years old and had been one of the first built by a small independent builder who also happened to live in the neighborhood. All the homes were either brick or Hardi-plank situated on half acres. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere, you could hear the cows mooing and the roosters crowing.
Fast-forward 20 years and the world has come to us now. New subdivisions have taken over the farmers fields. We have 3 schools within a 2 mile radius of our home. A fire station was built 2 miles away. We have a Mall being built 5 miles away.
We talked of moving but our neighborhood somehow manages to retain it's appeal. Every Spring a few houses will go up for sale and are quickly snapped up. Most of us though, bought our homes years ago and are aging in place. Lots of seniors in our neighborhood.
I think that's part of why we still like it here. Change is all around us yet we somehow stay the same.
We don't have an HOA, (Thank God) but we all try to get along respectfully with our neighbors.
One of my biggest likes/dislikes is that we are allowed to burn in our neighborhood. I like it because burning our yard waste is a lot easier that hauling it ourselves. I dislike it because of the smell.
All the newer neighborhoods around us have yard waste pick-up services because they were annexed by the local town. Our neighborhood is like an island. The town won't annex us yet because our roads need repaved and they don't want to pay for it. (I guess there is a request to get the State of NC to approve it but Covid has slowed down the process.)
My neighbor behind me gathers a big old brush pile over time and then ignites it all with gasoline. WHOOSH. Hot and fast, one and done. Kinda scary to watch though.
My neighbor beside me created a fire pit and slowly loads it up, tosses in green materials, like grass into it and lets it smolder. FOR DAYS. I hate that. It has an acidic smell to it.
Yesterday, I decided it might be a good day to burn my yard waste. I had 4 piles of brush, branches and tree limbs that had been sitting, drying out for several months waiting for a good burn day.
I started about 9:30am and finished it by 11:30. I started small and took my time. The fire burned nice and hot with very little smoke. Towards the end the wind picked up and a few of the larger branches remaining started to smoke. I raked those away from my pile of embers and ash and squirted them down with water to stop the smoking.
All in all I felt that sense of accomplishment that comes with getting a delayed task done. I also felt that I had also done right by my neighbors. It's all about neighborly respect. Burning, barking dogs, loud music...
The world is getting smaller my friends. Do your best to "Do Unto Others". Kindness, courtesy and respect can go a long way.