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KSMU Sense of Community Series feature Thursday morning, June 25th.
For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith. When Henry Troyer heard on KSMU that we sere seeking nominations of “Good Neighbors” to recognize on our Sense of Community Series, he wrote to tell us about Bill and Betty Bartley who live right across the street, North Farm Road 127, and his next door neighbors Joe and Beth Johnson who are Bill and Betty’s daughter and son in law.
Henry Troyer says the day he and his wife Elsie moved in to their home, Bill Bartley came over to introduce himself by saying “Were going to be neighbors who do things together”. Henry says “That’s the way it was then and that’s the way it is today”. Bill Bartley remembers that day… “I told Henry that I had owned his home about four owners back and that since I knew where everything was, if he ever needed anything just holler”. I asked Bill how often Henry hollers at him. He said “He’s one of those neighbors which I like pretty well. He doesn’t bother you unless he really gets stuck”. Henry Troyer continues.. “I build windmills, and Bill does all the welding for me. I asked him one day, how could I ever pay or repay you for what you’ve done? He said Well Henry, when you start to earn money for your projects, then you can pay me. I understood what that meant. I’m still not earning money from my windmill projects”. Bill says “We’ve talked and I’ve helped on mechanical things. He gets a new design, I’ll weld it and it’s handy for him so he doesn’t have to take it to town to find out if it works. I’ve got a tractor so I’ll help plow and disc his garden. It’s just some of those things you do. Henry is a nice guy and you know, you help him out. My son in law does the same thing and it make for a nice neighborhood”.
Good neighbors like Bill and Betty Bartley and Joe and Beth Johnson are also there for you in times of trouble. Such was the case a few years back when Henry Troyer was removing a tree from his property. Bill says “My son in law is an arborist and offered to take care of the tree for Henry, but he doesn’t like to impose on people”. “Well I can cut down trees”. Henry says. “So I got up there about 15 feet high to cut down the branches. I thought I did everything safely like my Dad had taught me. I secured the ladder and had my wife out there just in case something unusual happened. Well it did! A branch came down and kicked my ladder sideways. It was not supposed to do that. I landed hard on my feet and fractured 4 or 5 of my vertebrae”. Bill Bartley saw the ambulance arrive at the house across the street from his and “New something was going on. We kept touch with Elsie until Henry got home from the hospital. I told her to holler if she needed anything at all. Joe told her he and Beth would take care of the lawn. It was a needed to be done kind of thing”. When Henry Troyer came home from the hospital he found the tree he was injured by in trying to remove was gone. “Bill and Joe had done it. The had removed all of that tree except for the firewood. Well I was very impressed”. Bill says “My son in law took the tree down and we all pitched in to mow and take care of yard things. It wasn’t any conscientious effort as such. It was just something that had to be done and somebody had to do it”.
Henry Troyer was in a body cast when he came home from the hospital and was unable to make use of his own riding mower. “My neighbors mowed my lot; they mowed my lawn all summer”. They treated it like it was no big deal. It was just really pleasant to see how the neighborhood worked”.
Bill Bartley wants listeners to know that he and his family have good neighbors too. “I think it works both ways. Henry and I talk about a lot of things. He has a vast knowledge of anatomy and so whenever someone in my family gets sick, has a sore or pulled muscle, Henry’s helped out with that. When my mother was in a rest home until she passed, Elsie would check on her and visit. That meant a lot to me. You do what you can do. It’s not that you owe or you keep track. I really get tickled with the TV commercial where someone stops a person from walking into the street in front of a car, and that is witnessed by another person who then does a good deed for someone else and so on and so on. To me, that’s the way it ought to be. This may sound a little hokey but a little more John Wayne. Right is right and wrong is wrong. It’s life the way you’d like it to be”.