I went outside to see what was going on.
It turned out there were a bunch of baby raccoons peeking out of a hole in a tree trunk.
How exciting. It was the best thing that had happened in our neighborhood in quite a while and everyone had come out to look and enjoy.
Sometimes when the neighbors are out together, it isn’t so good. I can remember another time when there had been a house fire and the neighbors gathered on the sidewalk in front of the house to share sadness.
A few days ago the neighbors were out, too. It was this past cold Sunday morning after the snow and the high winds. There were drifts. We had shoveled twice on Saturday but the strong winds Saturday night had undone much of our work.
Early Sunday morning, it was just us — doing the best we could shoveling around our cars and part of the driveway and the front walk up to our steps.
At first, it was fun. Then, it was hard. Then, we went inside without finishing.
In a little while, there was the sound of a motor. Peering outside, my husband announced that it was our neighbor with his snow blower. He had done our driveway, our sidewalk and several other driveways and walks as well.
A bit later we went outside again. This time, several neighbors were out shoveling and snow blowing up and down the street. There wasn’t much left for us to do since our neighbor had done the rest of the work for us. So we chatted amiably with the people who were out, braving the cold in our neighborhood.
One neighbor, who hasn’t lived in Norwalk as long as we have, wanted to know if there is an ordinance requiring people to clear their sidewalks.
I told her there is, but it is not often enforced. People just go out and clear their sidewalks because it is the right thing to do. We chatted about the snow and the cold.
Soon, our kind neighbor came up the sidewalk making his way home with his snow blower. His face was frosted over with snow. He was smiling.
I couldn’t thank him enough. That snow was high, and heavy, and lots of it — but you probably know that.
I remember the days our sons — who had a paper route along our street — would help one of the elderly couples on the street by shoveling their driveway. I remember the days our younger son would rejoice with his friend as they created forts in the mounds of snow created by the snowplows after the middle school parking lot had been cleared. I remember the joy of telling my children that it was a snow day and they could stay home from school. It meant a day of sledding and making hot chocolate and baking cookies.
I miss those days very much. This may sound hard to believe, but I wouldn’t want to live in a place that doesn’t have cold and snow for at least some of the year.
When you move into a house you don’t always know who the neighbors are. We are blessed with wonderful neighbors.
The sledding days are over, but I still bake. In fact, on Sunday, I baked some cookies to thank the kind neighbor who cleared our sidewalk and much of our driveway.
Of course, I ate some, too.
Debbie Leffler is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. She can be reached at [email protected]