The People in Your Neighborhood
by Tony Tone
August 14, 2020

Growing up, I spent a lot of time watching “Sesame Street” on the Chicago PBS station WTTW channel 11. Do you recall hearing their song “The People in Your Neighborhood” that outlined the different type of people that live near you?

My family and I moved last summer into a neighborhood, and I have to tell you it has been so great. When was the last night you had a neighbor offer to cut down a dead tree outside your house? Maybe that has never happened and certainly, that would not be the case if you find yourself living out in the country and you literally do not have any neighbors.

Three weeks ago, I was having a conversation with my neighbor, Lorna Hasken, about the aforementioned tree that resided outside our house. You see, the tree had been infected by those pesky emerald ash borers and it caused it to slowly but surely die off and litter the lawn with leaves. I was telling Lorna how I had a quote to have the tree removed and without hesitating she replied, “Tony, we have a chainsaw.”

Fast forward to last Tuesday, August 11th (you know, the day after the massive storm hit Iowa) and Lorna alongside her husband, Jim were dismantling the tree. Apparently, this became somewhat of a block party as our other neighbor, Ed Bermel, joined the fun with his chainsaw. How great are my neighbors, especially considering that both Jim and Ed are retired and most certainly could do whatever they please?! That’s a good feeling knowing that you’re surrounded by good, honest, and incredibly helpful people.

To answer your question, no, I do not own a chainsaw, but following this last week, I just may need to invest in one! That way, we could have an entire street filled with chainsaw wielding folks just chomping at the bit to help out. It’s really just being kind to each other, and that’s something Muscatine does a really good job at.

I made sure to tell my children that this was our neighbor’s way of being kind and helpful to us. My oldest son, Henry, was sad to see the tree go, but understood when I told him how wonderful it is to have people that can lend a hand.

In a way, we’re all neighbors, aren’t we? If you’re reading this column, you find yourself within Muscatine County. So, while you may not live next door, or across the street from me, I’m proud to call you my neighbor.

My challenge to you is to find ways to lift your neighbors up. This could be cutting down a tree, exchanging a friendly greeting or, reaching out to places like MCSA, The Salvation Army, United Way, or Rebuilding Together and asking how you can be a good neighbor.

Should you be reading this and thinking, “Well that’s nice Tony but I’m surrounded by bad neighbors!” try a little kindness, and if nothing else, you can feel good for trying. Or, let me know and you can have my leftover stump and deliver it to them (just kidding!).