We live in a subdivision of 85 homes, two cul-de-sacs, one playground and a sidewalk on one side of the street. In many ways it's classic suburbia. In many ways it's not. Far from it. I'd say at least half the families in this neighborhood are military, folks who are either active service or retired from the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, you name it. Some are cops. Then there's the rest of us. A newspaper reporter, teachers, Wal-Mart clerks, kind of the average Joe types. Right now I'll take our Courthouse Square subdivision over any neighborhood around.
As you know, we got roughed up by a pretty serious windstorm the other night. We still have a tarp over what's left of our window, but a replacement should get here tomorrow. When we awoke Monday morning, we had parts of three trees and a section of busted fence planks in our yard. By two o'clock in the afternoon, our yard was clean and a troop of kids were down in the neighbor's yard cleaning it up. Our next door neighbors, Mike and Amber, owned the tree that smashed through their fence into our yard. Our neighbors behind us, Donny and Christina, had a section of tree hanging over their fence into our yard. We all rendezvoused in our yards about 1 a.m. Monday morning to make sure everyone was OK and then by 9 a.m. the chainsaws were firing up.
Let's get something straight here. Men need no excuse, I repeat no excuse at all, to fire up the chainsaw. (Wife to Manly Man Husband: "Honey, there's a tumbleweed in the back yard. Could you take care of that before my babies get tangled up in it?" Manly Man Hubby to Wife: "Sweet! I'll grab the chainsaw!") Wives, if you want to bless your husband at Christmas, buy him a chainsaw that will buzz through the hardest hardwood like it's butter. That being said, Donny and Mike and I were manning chainsaws and carving up the trees. A while later our friend Jennifer (who doesn't even live in our 'hood) showed up with a trailer and her four kids, and about 83 percent of my kids, my nephew Killian and a bunch of other kids from the neighborhood started hauling debris and wood to the trailer and Donny's pickup. Amber supplied the cookies and Powerade (it was the type of hot, muggy day where Mike was sweating so much he dripped his way through three shirts -- before lunch) and in no time the yard was clear, Mike had repaired his fence and we were just standing around thinking the chainsaws hardly got going.
Never fear, because on the other side of us, Zeke and Erin had a huge poplar tree go down in their back yard. But it snapped midway up and was still attached, creating a danger that needed to be eliminated with chainsaws. So Mike and Donny manned up and took down the poplar tree the rest of the way (Zeke would have joined in but was at work at the Coast Guard station in Yorktown). To top it all off, some neighbors at the end of the street in the cul-de-sac, who we hardly know, had some intrepid entrepreneurial kids decide they'd help us out with the window by having a charitable neighborhood lemonade sale. They showed up yesterday afternoon with $21.65 in a plastic jar.
When Julie and our neighborly friend Cindy were recounting Monday's cleanup, how everyone chipped in and how the Sabo Memorial Window Donation Lemonade Sale was a rousing success, I thought they were going to cry. Who knows. Maybe this was just a dry run for something more serious in store, like a (dare I even utter the word?) hurricane. Or maybe it's just proof that the Lord has blessed us with good neighbors. Maybe it's both.