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I’m Jennifer Moore. For our Sense of Community series, we’re looking at the Art of Being a Good Neighbor. This Spring, we sent out a call for nominations of good neighbors. One person to email us was Dr. Naomi Purdy of Springfield. She wrote about her good neighbors, Randy and Janice Buchanan. They live just off the intersection of I-44 and Highway 65.
Purdy moved into a new subdivision near the Buchanans with her husband and two children about five years ago. Before long, however, her world would be turned upside down by tragedy: her husband suddenly passed away. Purdy says it was not long afterwards that she got to know her neighbors. She says she merely asked Randy how to start the lawn mower, and before she knew it, he was out mowing her lawn.
Randy and Janice Buchanan are retired, and live just through the woods. Today, a small path connects the two properties.
Janice Buchanan says she wanted to reach out her neighbor after she lost her husband; as she watched her out on her porch, Janice says she could tell that her neighbor was mourning. When Purdy came to their door, she was greeted with a hug.
The two women eventually began doing things together. They took walks together, and had long conversations. They shared recipes and travel tips.
Both households have rejuvenated the art of being a good neighbor where they live. Purdy organizes progressive dinner parties in the neighborhood: that’s where everyone gathers at one home for appetizers or hors d’ouvres, then progress to another neighbor’s home for the main course, and so on.
She’s also started a book club in her neighborhood.
Janice Buchanan is active in Purdy’s book club. She says she was raised on a farm where neighbors all knew each other. She remembers during harvest time, the men would go out into the field to harvest the hay and store it in the barn, while the women all gathered together to prepare a large meal, which they would all enjoy together.
She says she believes this is how neighbors should be.
She encourages people to approach a neighbor to offer a random act of kindness, or just a friendly hello. And her neighbor, Naomi Purdy, agrees.
Purdy says when she sees someone new move into the neighborhood, she takes over some cookies or a plate of food. She says we all long for community and belonging, and that it's really not that hard to achieve.
Join us Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 to learn what it means to be a good neighbor in other parts of the world. You can listen to this report and others in our Sense of Community series on our website: ksmu.org.
For KSMU, I’m Jennifer Moore.