“Perhaps that’s why I chose not to get close to people right away.”

I’ve had my share of neighbors over the years. Coming from a military family, like clockwork, we had new ones every 36 months. That made it tough as a child, making friends and then losing them to a reassignment. Neighbors and friends seemed to come and go like traveling carnivals back then. Perhaps that’s why I chose not to get close to people right away. Eventually, with time, I came out of that shell so to speak.

In later years, things improved considerably. Most of our neighbors hung around for a spell. One of them did meet an untimely fate shortly after we’d purchased our first home in Alaska. Grayson Maroney built many of the houses in Elm-Rich Subdivision including his own. I only briefly chatted with the man, finding him very personable. His sons and daughter went to the same school as me.

When I learned that Grayson was killed in an auto accident not far from our residence, I was sad. This friendly gentleman always waved as he drove by. Simple gestures like that make for nice neighborhoods.

Some neighbors became lifelong friends. Bill Devine was our neighbor for close to 35 years. We’d visit and shoot the breeze almost weekly. When he became ill and eventually died, our ‘hood was no longer the same. That’s one of the reasons Joleen and I packed up and relocated. Our old stomping grounds became quite depressing with Bill, Grayson, and other old-timers gone.

I’ve had neighbors that moved, passed away, and last but not least, were hauled away. Thankfully, the latter only occurred once. This young man took out our mailbox with his car because of a constant inebriated condition. When police attempted to stop him one evening, he drove across numerous lawns and mowed down several fences trying to escape. The guy almost hit some small children in the process. He was immediately handcuffed and transported to the pokey. I never saw Tom again after that.

We’ve had more neighbors move away in Lake Havasu City than any other place combined. I’m told that’s because this is a retirement community. That might be the case, but nonetheless it doesn’t make for a happy neighborhood. Nine neighbors have disappeared in 15 years, and that doesn’t include those living in apartments. It gives me flashbacks to my former military brat days. For those never hearing such, military brat is the child of a service member.

We just recently learned that we’re losing another neighbor and good friend. I won’t mention her name, because I’m sure it’s as hard on her to leave, as it is on us seeing her go. All a person can do in cases like this is shed a few tears and wish them the best. I told my wife that perhaps we should pack up and follow her north. Having spent close to 50 winters in Alaska, Joleen quickly reminded me that she’d had her fill of ice and snow.

Having no particular place to go, it appears we’ll stay put in Arizona for a while longer. Joleen’s tempted to take an atlas, blindfold herself, and then stick a pin somewhere on the map. We’re not going to that extreme!

I recall a song about some exotic locale in Texas where folks migrate when life gets them down. I’m all for giving Luckenbach, Texas a try. It can’t be bad if Waylon and Willie say so. If them boys turned out to be our neighbors, hopefully they’ll stick around for a bit. I’d be ticked after moving there, finding that they’ve already gone!

Luckenbach, Texas

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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