Friday, January 19, 2007

Da Count - Chad

The other night when Alexander and I were putting out the garbage and then spreading salt on the slick and icy spots on our driveway my neighbour Chad came over with a smile on his face and a couple of Rolling Rock beers in his hand (I used the Rolling Rock symbol to the left because it is his favourite beer, something he always has on hand because he picks it up from the beer's originating state of PA every time he's across the border)

That's just the kind of outgoing and friendly neighbour that Chad is.

Back in the late 90's when we first moved into our new home, my parents were visiting and my Dad and I were sitting in lawn chairs in the garage having a beer (since it was a newly build home our back yard was dirt and mud and we didn't have a back deck yet, so this was the only place where my father could enjoy a cigarette). Chad wandered over with a beer in his hand and I introduced him to my Dad. Although we'd said hi before (he'd moved in next door into his newly built home at roughly the same time as us), we hadn't done more than exchange polite greetings. It was great to later learn that something Chad had always wanted was to be able to have a neighbour to enjoy a beer with. (We've certainly done a lot of that over the years).

We ended up spending time chatting in the front yard, and when we built decks later on, enjoying sitting either by ourselves, with our wives or with other friends on each other's back decks and enjoying -- you guessed it -- a beer or two and some laughs.

But it wasn't until quite a while later that we got to know each other better when putting up a fence between our two yards. I got in late from my job in Toronto, and he was near preparing to head off for a graveyard shift. But with about 4 hours of time in the evening, we got together in the twilight and dark to work on this fence together over the period of several days. Ironic that putting up a fence between our two yards would be, in my mind, the defining point of a strong neighbourly friendship.

In the many years we've been neighbours and buddies, Chad and his family have been like family to us. We carry many cross-family/cross-home traditions like the winter-month weekend games nights at each other's houses, the annual Rib-Fest celebration with friends, and, of course, the tradition of holding a "Hot Luck" party every Friday the 13th. (This is a celebration of hot and spicy food that we started years ago which is an excuse to invite a bunch of people over to share in some great food, drinks and plenty of laughs).

(In the group shot shown here, Chad is the one on the far right wearing the Jester hat. This shot was taken during a "Hat Luck" party we had which happened to fall during the great North American Blackout of August 2003.)

But apart from the fun times and silly adventures, Chad has always been a dependable neighbour, the best kind of neighbour you could ask for. He's always there with a roll of duct tape, an extension ladder, a power tool or whatever other kind of thing you might need to borrow when working in the yard, putting up Christmas lights, etc. And of course, he's often there with a couple of beers, some fun stories and chit chat. Chad's family, as I said, is like family too. His wife Trish is great, the four of us get along marvelously. And they have two wonderful kids that Alexander just adores. Chad and Trish are the kind of neighbours you wish you could take with you if you ever move.

I'm greatly appreciative for this friendship and thought I'd pause to acknowledge it. And what better way to do that than using Lecram's wonderful Da Count meme?

So, to paraphrase the words of Ned Flanders I end this post by saying: "Chad, an affordable new housing development made us neighbors, but you made us friends."



lecram sinun said...

Thats a wonderful count, Mark. Great neighbors are certainly a wonderful assest and adds a completeness to the meaning of home.

Here is a cheers to you and Chad!

Solitaire said...

How wonderful to have friends like that! It's a rare thing to be that close to your neighbor any more...

Awe... I want that too! :-)

I remember moving into my first apartment and thinking that I'd know everyone around me... but alas, it never happened. I moved out and never felt sad because I wasn't leaving anyone.

Friends are beautiful! Good Count!

Georganna Hancock said...

Man, I wish I had Chad for a neighbor. Mine is a minister. All he ever brings over are prayers. I could use a beer!

Anonymous said...

that's a truly wonderful count. you really hit the neighbour jackpot there. a good neighbour like chad is invaluable! thanks for sharing him with us.

oh, and if he likes pennsylvania beers let him try's our oldest brewery. ;)

Anonymous said...

I love that count, and giggled at the last line...very well said mr. leslie.

Lee Ann said...

That is great that you have such a good friend in your neighbor. Lucky you. Definitely something to count.