As I was filling the tank on the lawn mower earlier this week (ah, the glamorous life of the writer!), an unfamiliar car pulled into the driveway. I walked over and smiled as the man behind the wheel hailed me. Turns out he’d just moved to Western NC from New York and had lost his dog. He had a flyer, which I took, assuring him I’d keep an eye out. I know I’d be distraught if my dog were lost.
He seemed inclined to chat a moment and, as my husband will testify, I’m happy to talk to just about anybody. He asked about the area and marveled at how welcoming and friendly folks had been. He was surprised that I didn’t perceive a strange man pulling into my driveway as a threat.
And I’ve been thinking about why I didn’t see him that way. And while part of it is that I simply don’t have a precedent for seeing strangers as a threat, I also think it’s because I know my neighbors are looking out for me.
The couple across the street has an excellent view of our front yard and driveway. Neighbors on up the street walk their dog by our house every evening. And I know–at least to wave–just about everyone who drives by within sight of me talking to a stranger. They’ll probably ask about him at church on Sunday.
And so I don’t much worry about strangers pulling into my driveway–whether it’s the census taker who tried to get us to answer questions on behalf of a neighbor (we didn’t), a man with a lost dog, or the Jehovah’s witnesses I’m still trying to convert–I kind of like it when someone new stops by. It broadens my world another notch.
Because I’m blessed to live in a place where we look out for each other. And while it might feel a wee bit big-brotherish once in a while, it mostly feels like love. And I’m so very thankful for it.