Our differences make us unique and strong

Published 5:48 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My eyes peeped open, and I wondered if it was morning. The cool darkness of the room enveloped me as vague night thoughts, dreams perhaps, danced in my semiconscious mind. Almost succumbing to sleep again, a noise outside caused me to take notice.

When Mike rests by my side such noises go unobserved, but with him away at work I play detective myself. The bump-scratch rhythmic sound caused me to think of possible scenarios of its origin. “The wind, perhaps? No. The wind would have no particular pattern. What could be causing that sound?” My somewhat weak detective tendencies failed to warrant a full investigation. With a whispered prayer for protection my breathing slowed and slumber swept me away once more.

I suppose the talk at our yearly homeowners’ meeting may have been the reason even a few moments were spent in pondering the night sounds. Since my previous residence had no homeowners’ association I was unfamiliar with what to expect. When the sign appeared at the front entrance of our neighborhood, I immediately decided to attend. Thoughts of meeting more neighbors, getting to know them, and perhaps forming a bond of some sort filled me with anticipation.

My friends and acquaintances around my house decided to go early and have a bite to eat before the meeting began. They had never attended a meeting before either so none of us quite knew what to expect.

My neighbors and I enjoyed our visit, but were a little surprised when the meeting took a somewhat negative turn. Apparently four people had been trying to take care of things for a neighborhood of 400 families, and were burning out. The board members clearly exhibited frustration, as did the homeowners.

One lady spoke of a rash of petty crime along her street. Another had a pet problem in her area, and perhaps most importantly dues were in arrears for many homeowners. The burden of keeping up a large neighborhood was falling on the shoulders of those who faithfully paid their dues, while others reaped the benefits without doing their fair share.

What a shame! If we all pitch in a little, and do what we can then things function so much more smoothly in any arena. Before the evening came to an end, a concerned homeowner volunteered to take a seat on the board, relieving some of the pressure and frustration the other members were feeling. Several of my neighbors and I offered to form a committee to plan social gatherings.

Although I didn’t like hearing that some people had been the victims of crime, at least now I am aware and plan to be more safety conscious myself. My fellow committee members and I know that a social gathering or two will not solve all the problems discussed at our meeting. We believe, however, that our small gift of helping to provide fellowship times for our neighborhood will cause us all to have a better understanding of our neighbors and their concerns. This is a very good first step in becoming a unified neighborhood, and maybe we will make a friend or two in the process.

My prayer is for unity in our country, but like all good things that begins at home.


Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.