MENOMINEE - As I have driven by many homes, I have often noticed the lack of front porches (that had been in vogue for years). Many, not all, have traded the openness and welcoming of the front porch to a more private setting with a deck in the back of their homes. For me, the front porch symbolizes the greeting of passers-by, whether they're driving, walking, or running, and neighbors across the street. A short greeting or conversation can be sparked by this setting.
About neighbors - this is what I am addressing for this article. Let's start with a few questions. How many of you know who you neighbors are, or their first and last names. How about taking the time to regularly talk to them, other than just the usual greeting? What about visiting at each other's homes?
If you answered no or not much, you are probably in the same position as many of homeowners in today's society. I must admit I was in the same mode for the last few years too, but things have changed.
One of my close neighbor relationships began with the usual greeting, but evolved into a longer conversation, where we found some common interests. This in turn moved into invitations to each other's front porches (weather permitting) to discuss past employment, weather, families and politics. This list goes on and on. As our conversations continued my neighbor, Paul, stated that people (neighbors) just don't take the time to get to know each other. He also suggested that we need to invite more of our neighbors to join with us.
Moe, our neighbor, from across the street entered into the picture. One day I saw Moe outside and I struck up a conversation with him. I explained to him how Paul and I get together (usually once a week) at either his home or mine and visit, and that we would like to extend the invitation for him to join us as well. He accepted the invitation and we had a great time.
That was about six months ago, and I so look forward to these gatherings. We share stories of hobbies, work, the service, politics, (try to) solve the world's problems, and just life in general. It has gone so well that we will be doing the following:
1. Extending invitations to our other neighbors.
2. Begin to have our wives gather together as well.
So, to our neighbors, be on the lookout for invitations to join our group in friendship. For all of you who would like to know your neighbors, do as we did and develop a neighborhood of friends.
Dan Paul is the interim superintendent for Ishpeming Public Schools. His columns, which explore family relationships, are published monthly in Lifestyles.