Remember when my adorable husband Jim and I first moved into our retro ranch? The pine trees on the side of the driveway were so bad that you couldn’t see the mailbox and backing out of the driveway was hazardous.

We spent many an hour hacking away at the trees, trying to find our mailbox…

…finally shaping it up to look like this:

Then all was well…until winter…

That’s when the branches got weighed down with snow and we had to get out the saw again to clear our half blocked driveway…

Then about this time last year, my Dad once again started sawing away at this massive tree that somehow continued to grow onto our roof, smack us in the face while we walked up the driveway and droop over the driveway during heavy snow falls. Needless to say, we’ve been fighting this tree for two years now-and its been a rough fight. That’s why I was so excited and so touched when one of our neighbors came to our assistance.

This is what the offending tree looks like today…

Its still there, but there is much less of it… and likely by the end of the summer, it will be little more than a stump.

I have my neighbor to thank for this…well he isn’t technically my neighbor, but he is related to my former neighbors.

The story goes like this: Jim and I moved in and the elderly couple across the street from our driveway (we live on a corner so we have two across the streets) were quick to say hello and welcome us to the neighborhood. They told us how they had lived in that house for most of their married lives, raised four kids there and loved the neighborhood. I found out from another neighbor that the couple was 89 and 91 and they cautioned me that the man was getting forgetful, so he may not remember that I am his neighbor. Nearly every day the couple would go for a walk around the block together, often in the evening when I was gardening. They always stopped to chat with me and tell me what a good job I was doing trying to bring the overgrown yard back to its former glory. I’d see the man out in the mornings when I was leaving for work–he always liked to pick up sticks in the yard and pile them neatly by the driveway for brush collection. We always waved at each other and smiled. When the holidays came, I baked Christmas cookies and took them to the couple, who were so grateful that I though of them, especially since they didn’t bake anymore.

The following spring, I’d make an effort to go over and talk to the couple whenever they were out in the front yard. I invited them to our BBQ–though they didn’t come claiming the crowd was too young for them–still I think they were glad to be invited.

One day I saw a man who looked like he may be related to the old man walking over to check the mail box. It turns out it was one of his sons. I told him how much I enjoyed talking to his parents about the neighborhood and our yards. My conversation with the man’s son must have resonated with him because when he saw me later that week struggling to hack another branch off of one of my crazy pine trees, he came over to talk to me about it. Apparently he had to do some tree work at his parent’s house and he had the tools and know how to work on my trees. We got to talking and I told him how I’d like to have the trees removed. He said he’d get a quote from his “guy” and let me know.

Then a funny thing started happening. Branches would disappear while I was at work, limbs would be trimmed, all the while it was my neighbor just wanting to help us out. On Friday, he, his son, his brother took down one of the trees for me, cut it up and hauled it off. He apologized that it would take him a while to get the other one down.

Then I got all choked up. Here was this guy who wasn’t technically my neighbor, (and his brother and son) helping me with such a huge job because he likes to help people. I’ve tried offering to help him out by painting a room for him or paying him for some of his work, but he always refuses, saying he just really likes the neighborhood and likes to help people out. I thanked him profusely and told him that him trimming and taking down our treees is the nicest thing anyone has ever done to help us out and he humbly just says, “It’s okay-I just like to help people.”

Never underestimate the kindness of neighbors.



  1. It is a blessing to have good neighbors … or great relatives of good neighbors. What a wonderful gesture … those are/were the weirdest pine trees I’ve ever seen.

    • They are weird trees. I don’t understand either, since many other lots in the neighborhood have trees like this that are not as crazy looking. I wonder why they grew that way…

  2. Your pine trees were insane. Crazy things. I am glad your not-exactly-neighbor took pity on you and helped because those pine trees were determined to be a problem.

  3. Talk about kindness… It seems we are all getting a little sappy on our blogs recently. (Pun intended!) Have a great fourth my friend!

  4. I loved reading this and am enjoying your blog. We recently moved out of the ‘burbs into a mid-century ranch (rambler?) in an older, urban neighborhood. I am amazed at how friendly our neighbors, both young and old, are! There’s a true sense of community here. Mary Ann, our neighbor to one side, is in her late 70s and has been in her home since the late 60s. We know her life story now and I LOVE it! One of her sons is our mailman! Richard, our neighbor across the street, is in his 80s and keeps his eye on everyone and everything. In the few short weeks we’ve been here, I’ve met more people and made more new friends than we did in the nine years in our last home.

    • Thanks for reading Cathy!

      Isn’t it great to have good neighbors? I love the sense of community.

      I’ve found you can meet your neighbors more quickly if you have a dog to walk–especially a cute and friendly one like Leo!

  5. Such a sweet story! Isn’t it nice to have great neighbors? Our old neighbors were very annoying, but our new ones are so friendly and helpful. We were moving a heavy couch into our house and our neighbor literally ran down the street to help us when he saw we were struggling!

  6. what a great neighborhood you live in. its similar to our neighborhood. we live in Dover Shores a fantastic mid century modern neighborhood in Orlando Fl. Our neighbors are so friendly too. Everyone knows each other on our block. Our neighbor jump started our car for us not too long ago. Good Karma!

    • Awww don’t cry! (At least it is happy crying!) I did choke up a bit when I thanked my neighbor’s son for helping me out and telling him it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. Luckily, I could hold it together! šŸ™‚

  7. We love the neighbors on our cul-de-sac. Right next door is a couple my parents’ age–they are so friendly. They moved into their house right after it was built (in the late 70s), so they know the history of all the houses in our little corner of the ‘hood. And they are super-nice! Seems like good neighbors should add to the value of real estate; they sure make our home nicer. Glad you’ve got such awesome ones near you.

  8. That might be one of the sweetest stories I’ve ever heard. Is there something about these mid century neighborhoods that makes people act so neighborly, like they’re right back in the ’50s again?

  9. It is so nice to read about the kindness of others. I love your blog.

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