Community Columnists

LIZ DREIER | Have you seen who’s moving in?

Liz Dreier
Liz Dreier

The neighbors are speaking again.

After a few years of silence, during which the only things we said to one another were, “When are you going to mow that lawn?” and “Keep your dog out of my yard!” we are finally getting back to that old spirit of camaraderie. We’re gathering in our driveways to chat, stopping to say hi while out on our afternoon walks, helping one another scoop dog poop into a plastic grocery bag like kindred spirits.

There is only one thing that could bring a neighborhood together like that: New people!

When my husband and I took out the garbage last week, our north side neighbor approached us, holding a plate of cookies.

“Did you see the new people scoping out the house?” he asked.

“Yes. It looks like they have two children,” my husband said in a conspiratorial tone.

“I wonder if they have any pets?” the neighbor asked, handing the cookies to me. He and my husband side-eyed the house across the street.

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted, “we don’t know if they are buyers or lookers.”

“My guess is they are looking to buy,” said the neighbor.

Just about that time, the neighbor from the south side of the house came around to the front yard with his dog.

“Hey,” neighbor No. 1 yelled. “Did you see what’s going on across the street?”

Neighbor No. 2 walked over to us. “Sure did. Looks like there will be new people on the street soon.”

“We don’t know any such thing,” I insisted. “All we know is that we saw a family looking at the house.”

A woman from around the corner came by walking her dog and invited herself into the conversation.

“What’s going on?” she asked as her pooch left a memento by the hostas.

“New people,” said neighbor No. 1.

“They’re over there right now going through the house,” said neighbor No. 2. He was trying to keep his dog away from the woman’s dog, who was looking for another place to deposit a gem.

“You don’t say!” She looked over at the house.

“We don’t know that yet,” I said, trying to be the voice of reason.

“It’s about time,” she continued. “That place has been empty long enough. Do they have any pets?”

“Naw,” my husband answered. “Just kids.”

“I think I’ll let the guy next door to me know that things are going to change in the neighborhood pretty soon,” said the cookie neighbor.

“Okay,” said dog lady. “I’ll tell everybody at my end of the street.”

“There’s nothing to tell!” I shouted.

“Calm down,” said my husband. “No need to get excited about these things.”

The elderly woman across the street came out on her stoop and called to us, “Hi, neighbors! What’s going on?”

“New people moving in!” answered the cookie guy as he crossed the street to share the news.

I’m starting to miss the old days when nobody talked to each other.

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