To my parent’s neighbour,
Today, Sunday August 9th, you came over around 5PM to let us know that the sound of our work was disturbing your family dinner. Now, you COULD have said the sound of our blade cutting brick was making it hard to enjoy a special family time and politely asked if we could stop. But that is not what you did. No, what you did was storm out of your family dinner to round the corner and pound on my parent’s front door and ring the bell repeatedly. We are sorry we did not hear you but we were all out back working. My son heard and ran to get the door but was so frightened by your behaviour that he ran back to get a grown up (which was the right thing to do). You then stormed over to the side gate to take a piece out of me.
“It’s very loud…………”
“There’s a Sunday bylaw…………….”
“You’re disturbing our dinner……………”
I mumbled something about trying to finish my parent’s patio. I let you say your piece. I watched you storm off. And we stopped. We had worked very hard for many days and we were almost, at long last, finished. Many kind neighbours had been by over the days to help. It had become a neighbourhood project, and we were almost done. But of course we stopped. My parents felt bad. Then they, we all, felt hurt. Then angry.
And now? Now I just feel sad for you. You missed one heck of a chance to be a good neighbour, and to meet about the best neighbours a person could have. They ARE loud neighbours. Not just while relaying a backyard patio but all the time. They, my parents, have a big loud noisy life. And YOU could have been invited into it. See, my parents invite everybody IN. Into their home, and into their big LOUD messy busy noisy life. Over their 38 years in that house they have toiled to turn it into the home everyone can go to.
Growing up I hardly remember a time we didn’t have "company". Friends, family, even strangers have always found a welcoming roof over their heads, a warm bed, and full bellies when at my parent’s home. Sometimes they stayed a day …….. sometimes a year. They have hosted travelers from all around the world; weary strangers pointed in the direction of my parent’s home have found welcome and left as friends. They have always been a safe refuge for anyone needing a little support. They have a way of making everyone feel safe, supported, and welcome.
I think you really missed out on meeting them. Those noisy neighbours of yours. My parents. If you met them you would know that there is always room for one more at their table. That my Mom can roll out an amazing meal for 50 and make it feel like a small family dinner. That my parents can turn neighbours into family. That my parents have participated actively in the lives of the people of this community for 38 years. That my Dad has every tool and if you need to borrow it he will often follow you back home to help you use it. That my Mom bakes the best banana muffins. That my Dad knows more about the history of popular music than anyone I’ve ever met. That my Dad’s list of organizations he has volunteered his financial expertise for is very very long and still growing. That my Mom has the most beautiful and wild garden. That my Mom takes more people to the hospital than most ambulance drivers, because SHE is who people call first. That their home, for 38 years, is ALWAYS full of children. That dozens and dozens (and probably dozens more) of neighbourhood children have learned to swim in their pool. That my parents have this wonderful weird way of becoming surrogate parents anytime it’s needed. That they get back every good thing they put out and have this wonderful grateful, happy outlook on life. That they have great neighbours all around them. That they always think things can be made better for others and they are willing to help. They have joyfully shared in the ‘growing up’ of so many neighbourhood families and my parents always feel so honoured and blessed by it. That everyone in the neighbourhood knows they can call my parents at 3AM and find help if they need it. That they have been present in the lives of their neighbours through illnesses, births, tragedies, weddings, divorces, and deaths. That my Mom’s nursing background and exceptionally intuitive skills have been called into action, more times than anyone can remember, for everything from cuts to breaks to strokes. That my Mom and Dad have sat by and with neighbours on their death beds. That they have made sure the best care was given and the families felt safe and loved ………… because neighbours can be family too.
You should have come over and just asked ………….. because then you could have MET them. And they could have MET you. They are great neighbours. They are noisy GREAT neighbours.
*And for the record. The local Sunday noise bylaw and construction bylaw both say 7PM. We checked with 3 Police officers and a bylaw expert. One lives across the street from my parents. He’s their neighbour.