Sunday, March 13, 2016

Good neibors

I love sidewalks.

They connect communities with one another. They connect neighbors. They connect the essentials. They connect what otherwise cannot be connected.

So imagine our surprise early Sunday morning when we saw the walkway to our house suddenly transformed into a community chalkboard.

"Uh-oh," said Kim, expecting the worst. But then, she was looking at the walk from our porch, and the presumed vandalism was upside down. So we stepped down to investigate.

There, in pink chalk and in a child's hand was written: "We (heart) u neibors. From — Mary Evann."

And right below that was written, in Carolina blue chalk: "Go tar heels (then the overlayered UNC logo). You are the best neibors ever. Love, Sarah T."

Here. See for yourself:

At first, I was taken aback.

And then I started smiling.

And then Kim started laughing.

This was great. Mary Evann and Sarah T. are incredibly precocious twin sisters who live directly across the street from us. They are the 9-year-old daughters of Kristi and Dave Thornhill, and it seems like we've been watching the twins grow up from the moment they were born.

Hmm. I hope that doesn't sound creepy.

But we've watched them cavort dressed up as salt and pepper shakers, or as M&Ms, at Halloween; we've seen them sell lemonade as junior entrepreneurs from their own sidewalk on brutally hot summer days; we've seen them build snowmen in the winter; we've seen them pedal their bicycles through the neighborhood and we've enjoyed their remarkably logical and confident perspectives during our neighborhood porch parties.

So when these heartfelt messages showed up on our sidewalk (I figure it had to be done early Sunday morning as daylight savings went into effect), it was genuinely a touching moment for Kim and me. In fact, the editor in me didn't even mind the typos in their misspelling of "neighbors," and the more I thought about it, the more perfect it all became.

They'll be 10 years old soon, and that notion quickly struck home, too. In the blink of an eye, the babies that Dave and Kristi brought home nearly a decade ago will be driving cars, dating, voting for presidents. I hadn't thought of this before right now, but suddenly, I want to be at their high school graduation; I want to be at their weddings.

And I want to tell them that they're the best neibors ever.

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