A few weeks ago, the Sheriff of Solid Waste (what a title) left a message on our phone.
She said a neighbor called to complain that dogs were spreading our garbage "across the neighborhood."
My first thought was to call the Sheriff of Solid Waste to complain that other people's loose dogs get into our trash cans and spread garbage across our yard (not quite the neighborhood), making our boys learn perseverance, tolerance and the value of squats as they pick up the mess.
That was my first thought.
Then I vented to my calmer-than-I husband who said simply, "she just doesn't want to be called again." Humph.
So my 2nd thought was to wish the complaining neighbor had offered to help pick up the trash, or had at least considered how inconvenient it is for us to have to pick up after other people's dogs.
As I was in the middle of that thought, a 3rd thought came to mind. It was:
"Let it begin in me."
Now that thought I cannot claim as my own, as I'm sure it had a heavenly beginning, for it occurred to me when I was not feeling virtous or particularly kind.
It didn't immediately occur to me what "let it begin in me" will mean, but after mulling it over for a few weeks, I think our family needs to work on being better neighbors in 2011. For the 7 years we have lived on Highland Drive, we've only small-talked to a few people and waved at several more, but rarely have we invested in our neighbors.
So this year, I hope to teach the children about hospitality and being neighborly by taking time to visit each person on our little dead-end street; I want to wave and smile at every car or person that passes when I'm in the front yard, and if I see garbage by a tipped trash can, I want to stoop down and help pick it up.