I used to have a neighbor in New Hampshire who was not universally adored. For the sake of community harmony, I’m resisting the urge to go into specifics. However, let me be clear that nothing he did was horrific, but rather just a bit annoying. All of his offenses fit into the category of the usual space and noise concerns that any of us who live around other people must learn to tolerate.
This man was not always as thoughtful as possible, and his actions definitely inconvenienced me multiple times. Secretly, I was quite pleased that he lived around the corner and down the street a bit, as the distance shielded me from the worst of his transgressions.
Still, I saw him frequently when he took his dog for long walks several times a day, every day. There were other neighbors who walked their dogs regularly, but none were as consistent as this man was.
He was like a postal worker whom neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night (all of which regularly occurred in New Hampshire) could keep from the completion of his appointed rounds. When it was blazing hot, he was out walking the dog with a water bottle they shared. When it snowed, he was suited up with coat, hat, gloves and boots while they walked together.
How could I feel anything but respect and affection for a man who cared for his dog in this way? I suspect that the regularity of those walks at least partly accounted for the dog’s perpetually cheerful face, look of complete contentment and overall glow of health. This polite, happy dog, unlike his human companion, would easily have won a neighborhood popularity contest.
This man changed my philosophy of neighbors. Rather than dwell on the problems, I embrace the idea that we should all love thy neighbor, especially if thy neighbor always walks his dog in fair weather and foul, several times each day. However much my other neighbors might have disagreed, he seemed like good people to me.
--Karen B. London