Thursday, June 8, 2006

our first neighbors



Robert and Asta were our first (and just about only) neighbors when we got married and moved out here on Burnt Mountain, way back when the road was still narrow and dirt, 5 miles of it. We would have to drive the mile to their house to pick up our mail, as the post office wouldn't extend the route until more folks moved in.

Asta gave me my first plant for our new yard, a yellowbell (forsythia) bush which is still planted in the yard at the bottom of the stairs. Their little white house always had red salvia planted out front. Asta would make quilts and crochet afghans.

Robert was a farmer, with acres of corn and beans, pigs, chickens, beehives. We would get fresh corn a dollar a dozen, he would have them already shucked (he kept the shucks to feed to the pigs).

He would sometimes help out at the local apple house, once we stopped by there and he showed us how to make apple cider.

Robert made woven baskets or chair bottoms out of white oak strips, and was once featured in the local paper "Burnt Mtn. Artisan Carries on Woodcraft Tradition."

Robert and Asta would love company to come on Sunday afternoon. I can remember sitting out on their front porch listening to Robert's stories. He told us about the goldmine up on the mountain, about the bears getting into his beehives and corn. He told us not to worry about that black snake that is hanging from the rafters in the barn, it just keeps the rats out of the corn crib.

They didn't have any kids of their own, but loved when kids would come to visit. Robert always had gum in his pocket and shared it with the kids. I had forgotten about the gum until, at his funeral a couple of years ago, our then 22-year-old daughter put a piece of Juicy Fruit in his sleeping pocket.

An open door,
a kindly heart,
a ready hand to lend.
You're more than special neighbors,
You're also special friends.

7 comments:

Alice said...

They sound like true neighbours in every sense of the word. A lovely tribute, Susan.

Tammy said...

I remember people like these...hey, I wanna be people like these...does that make sense??
:-D

Motherkitty said...

That was so sweet of your daughter to remember the gum. What a nice tribute.

Kerri said...

What a lovely post you've written about wonderful neighbors.
I've loved seeing your pictures and reading your posts. Your flowers are looking so pretty. Love the porch boxes.
I think planting the roses is a great idea. Wish they'd grow better up here in NY.
It's always good to read movie reviews too. You're right about Tom Cruise :)

jellyhead said...

You've done it again Susan - written another beautiful post. Your blog is such a delight to visit every day!

Tracey said...

I feel like I know these folks after reading this. How blessed you were to have had them for neighbors! It seems that these kind of folks are so hard to come by nowadays....all the more reason to strive to be that kind of neighbor. ;o) Thank you for sharing this.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

You and the kids were so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors...And this was indeed a very touching post.