Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bein' Neighborly

Thank you, Google Images. THIS IS NOT MY PLATE. (:
One of my favorite things about Georgia was their license plates. No, I'm not crazy...but they were awesome. and fascinating. As you can see, it's a tradition for the county name to be at the bottom of the plate (please note my pathetic Photoshop job to make this historically accurate ;)). It's a casual thing to let you know where someone's from. You never know who might be a neighbor, a friend, an enemy...or a frenemy. (: Yesterday, when Dad and Maylen were driving home, they noticed a car in front of the house across the street from us with a Georgia plate...from Floyd County (where we lived before). The woman who used to live in the house died a couple months ago, so seeing a car outside her house was weird. Dad...being Dad, went over and beat on their door to see who it was (as in, who can possibly be from Floyd County). It was the woman's nephew, who had inherited the house just cleaning up, seeing what was there, etc. They got to chatting and realized that we had several mutual friends (including my grandparents, haha), so as they were wrapping up, Dad gave the man his number and said "let me know if you need anything/can help in any way/yada-yada-yada".

'Round dinnertime, the man--I'll call him Dr. Jim--called and asked if we knew any good places to eat. We live far enough away from a major town that there really isn't anything good that's also easily accessible, but Dad gave him a few names in town and they hung up. After hanging up, Dad stood there for a minute and said "this isn't right; this isn't the right thing to do" and immediately called Dr. Jim back and asked him to dinner and he immediately accepted. (This isn't unlike my dad; he's given rides to more hitchhikers and fed more homeless people that a lot of folks I know.) (God, please give me a man as understanding, kind and selfless as my daddy.)

We had a fantastic time. Dr. Jim is a fabulous storyteller and he and my dad are exactly the same age (give or take just a few months), so they had a great time "informing the younger generation" about the trends of the 70s. Apparently their two 4th grade classes both watched the same movie on the "impending attack of the killer Africanized bees". There was good food and a lot of laughter. We shared stories about our mutual friends, discussed our old town and just got to know each other. He and his family have lived in Rome for many, many years and I learned so much about the place where we used to live! Not only that, but his kids go to the same private school that I probably would have gone to and Dr. Jim works at the clinic that we used to drive by every day. It was really interesting to realize what a tiny, small world we live in.

My dad was exactly right: it was the perfect thing to do. Dr. Jim told us that he had had McDonald's for the past two meals only because it was the only restaurant in town that he knew how to find and I'm so grateful that we were able to feed him! Not only that, but he appreciated our Indian food! (: Apparently he's a big fan of Indian as well and we compared favorite dishes.

It was a wonderful night and it was even better to be able to help someone out. Dr. Jim told us several times how he hadn't expected help such as that and it made me think, why not? Why isn't that the norm? Honestly, our house is a total mess -- it was beautiful at New Years, but we've been so busy that it's fallen down on the priority list -- but it wasn't even a big deal. We opened our house and our hearts to a stranger and we're all the better for it.

Today, I'm thankful for being able to help out neighbors and friends, as well as being able to make new friends and meet new people. I'm thankful for shared stories, good food and Rome. Although I am beyond happy to be here in North Carolina and wouldn't trade it for the world...I'm really missing my Georgia years.

Feeling nostalgic again. -sigh-


Also, Dad's accent was stronger last night then it's been in years. If that didn't make it all entirely worth it...then I don't know what would have. (:

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