“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood/A beautiful day for a neighbor,” sang Fred Rogers for many years. Mr. Rogers believed in the value of knowing your neighbors, conversing with them and, most important, paying attention by listening to even the most insignificant conversation. Tiny moments can create a connection with another person. In a time of rampant loneliness, even these small moments of human interaction can be a positive experience.
Currently — especially in urban areas — the instinct is often to retreat into one’s own home with little curiosity about who a neighbor is and how they are doing. Apartment living is not often a Seinfeld episode. From personal experience, who lives behind the closed doors along the hallway is mostly unknown, oftentimes unseen — such a contrast from my childhood neighborhood where every neighbor and their pets were known by first name.
Here in the Methow Valley, we are fortunate to have neighborhoods where people know each other and are the consummate definition of “good neighbors.” They are there to help in time of need. They are there to shoot the breeze or just to wave hello. During the recent deepfreeze, our hot water pipes froze. Within a short time, two neighbors offered hot showers. Another texted from the hardware store and brought back needed pipe insulation.
The larger community neighborhoods are also full of good neighbors. On a trip to the post office, grocery store, or library, inevitably, there will be an encounter with someone you know. These connections are “chicken soup for the soul,” as was once described in popular books by the same name.
I was recently invited to a luncheon with a group of lady friends and fellow horse lovers. Seated around the fireplace with a toast of champagne, the hostesses asked each guest to give a little background about herself and how she came to the Methow. Getting to know something about our neighbors helps build human ties, if we slow down enough to let the connections be made. Refreshing, indeed.
The Mazama Community Club and Methow Valley Community Center frequently host events that give folks a chance to meet their neighbors. Two such events are coming up soon.
The Mazama Community Club is sponsoring a Game Night on Jan. 24, beginning with a first round at 7 p.m. There will be a variety of games available, including Qwirkle, Llama, Code Names, and Scrabble. Participants are encouraged to bring a favorite game, or just show up and play. Hot beverages and cookies are provided or bring your own. This event is hosted by volunteers and is free and open to all. Any questions can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp is calling all dissectologists to a Puzzle Palooza on Feb. 4 for a jigsaw puzzle competition. Teams of two to four will be given the same puzzle to see who can complete it the fastest. The event is also a fundraiser for the community center. Each team will have a registration fee of $40.
Light refreshments and drinks will be available for purchase by donation. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers. Entry deadline is Jan. 22. Call Brandi Parsley at (417) 844-3009 with any questions.
Both events are great opportunity to meet neighbors and have a good time. “Please, won’t you be my neighbor?”