“I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?” – Mother Teresa
When we grew up, the farms were mostly family run farms and neighbours lived closer together than they do now. Our farms had about 10 cows to milk and now most have well over 100! Today they have such big farms that neighbours don’t even live in close proximity to each other. We see people today involved in so many extra clubs, sports or activities that their lives have become much busier, they often don’t have time to visit the neighbours or invite them in.
Inger recalls a really good neighbor of hers that would go walking with her and join her for a nice glass of wine after their walk. It was really nice!
Jim O’Hearn remembers how neighbours always worked together. They’d pool their farm equipment together and help each other do the field work or any other big job that had to be done, like thrashing or re-roofing a barn or something. Jim Hunter said that if there was ever an emergency or dire need the neighbours would be right there to pitch in. He can remember a time when a neighbor had combustion in the hay mow. Jim helped to knock a barn board off and begin shoveling it out to avoid a barn fire. In no time at all, there were so many neighbours there we couldn’t shovel it out as fast as the men on the ground were taking it away into a field or somewhere for it to smolder out. Another time, cutting logs in the bush and we had a horse fall through ice into a pond. A neighbour came upon us, went home to change his clothes and came back to help us pull the horse out. That’s just what good neighbours do.
We remember how neighbours got together to visit with each other and play a game of cards or something and enjoy a light lunch together afterwards. If there was a new baby born or a death in the family of a neighbour, we’d bake pudding, a pie or cook something up to take over and see if there was anything else we could do for them. When the neighbours hydro went out, we’d invite them over, give them a meal, play games and let them stay until they had hydro again. We knew our neighbours so well, we even got to know the neighbours dogs!
Ruth Coulthard recalls her mother’s extra large and strong wooden table in their large back-kitchen. On a Saturday night, Mom would have a small band of men in to play some music. They’d put up to 6 chairs atop this table and the men would sit up there and play while all the neighbours came over and danced the night away. Mom kept that table around for years just for this purpose. We had great fun with the neighbours!
Maria Eybergen remembers when she immigrated to Canada in 1953. They were young, and settled into Saskatchewan. We had no radio so that was one of the first things our neighbours gave us was a radio for us to listen to. They invited us over for our first Canadian Christmas celebration and made us feel most welcome.. From then on, the neighbour lady invited me over every day to help me learn the language as I knew not a word of English when I arrived.
It is so sad that today lots of people don’t even know some of their neighbours’ first names. Why, we ladies would even call up a neighbor to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar if we run short rather than run to the store. It would be common place for us to host bridal showers for the young neighbour girls when they married. The O’Hearn brothers had no television and can remember how they used to go visit the neighbours just so they could watch TV. Today people become so involved with extra activities and involving their children in sports teams they seem to always be going places and have no extra time to spend with their neighbours.
“We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for each other.” H.J.M.
“Neighbours by chance, friends by choice.” “Neighbours are special friends.”
“To be a good neighbour is one of life’s richest joys.”
Submitted By: Mike O’Hearn, Jim O’Hearn, Jim Hunter, Maria Eybergen, Edith Eaton, Ruth Coulthard, and Inger Klaudi..