Most kids earn their first pocket money by feeding the neighbors’ dogs and mowing their lawns.

We have more esoteric neighbors.  Our boys have all taken turns iguana-sitting and watering a bonsai collection for the couple located just across the back yard.

  family2010 040

 This is the perfect first job, because our neighbors are:

1.  Frequently out of town.

2.  Good communicators – they bring over printed-out instructions, AND leave a copy in their kitchen.

3.  Generous.  The pay is awfully good for what amounts to collecting the mail, poking Romaine through a wire cage for a toothless, wrinkled old reptile (no walking required!) and tipping a watering can over some tiny trees.

4.  Large-hearted.  When we  were dying for a home-cooked meal during a hellish kitchen renovation, these lovely neighbors told us that whenever they were out of town, we should by all means use their utensils, stove, sink, dishes, and dining room table.  Even the simplest meals were heavenly when not consumed from a microwave or a sack handed through the car window.  The neighbors’ kitchen is always offered to us over holidays, when they’re gone, we’re home, and our oven is too stuffed with turkey and potatoes to accommodate rolls and pies. 

5.  Located 30 seconds away.  Should anything go wrong during their house-sitting duties, the boys can just run home and fetch an older supervisor.

First Ian, then Hugh, and now Malcolm have all taken their turns tending things at our neighbors’ house.  They earn pocket money, take pride in their work, and learn a little about some of the finer things in life. 

Like how to keep a large reptile alive, how to entice a bird to whistle Bridge Over the River Kwai, and how to tend the bonsai. 

family2010 041

Good fences make good neighbors.  In our case, there’s just a hedge, and our good neighbors are priceless.  We are honored to be the keepers of their keys.

family2010 042

And your neighbors?   How do they rate?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter