“Don’t buy the house. Buy the neighborhood.”
— Russian Proverb
A bottle lay shattered on the pavement.
Coming back from my morning run, I stopped and studied the bottle, pieces glinting in the morning light. It wasn’t interesting, just an old malt liquor bottle someone had broken on our street. There were no tire tracks through it, no big spray pattern. In all probability, someone was just out drinking on a Saturday night and dropped it when the alcohol was gone.
I probably could have left it alone. The cars would certainly grind and crunch it. If not, the street sweepers come around about once a month. Certainly, that would be good enough. Bottles get broken all the time, right?
However, this wasn’t just any street. This was our street. It didn’t make sense to leave it there for the kids to ride their bikes over or to walk on. A broom, dustpan and little elbow grease would be all that it would take.
After retrieving the necessary equipment, I was busy sweeping when I was pleasantly distracted to see a little Australian Shepard straining on its leash trying to say hello. Looking up from the dog, I saw a face I recognized from last summer.
Chris and Appa, the recipients of my Worldwide Day of Giving gift were strolling by. They were joined by Chris’ daughter. I hadn’t seen them since June 15th, but was happy to say ‘hi’ again. We talked for a short while and I found out that Chris was originally from Oklahoma and also lived in Florida before moving here. I was really surprised at how big Appa had grown. Tripled in size, she was the definition of excitement. Pure energy.
It seemed kind of ironic that the disconnected glass that lay at my feet helped reconnect a couple of strangers, but it isn’t really.
If we are active in our neighborhoods, we get to meet people. Knowing each other helps to turn houses into homes and people into neighbors. Living in a home with neighbors instead of living in a house with strangers can be the difference between indifference and pride in one’s neighborhood.
If you’ve got a little pride in your neighborhood, it isn’t really much trouble to pick up the broken glass.
With pride, cleaned up the broken glass in our neighborhood.