I remember when I was young; we lived in a very small town where the neighbors all knew each other and looked after each other’s kids. There were no fences or high walls separating the yards, and everyone was friendly. If you needed a cup of sugar or some coffee, all you had to do was ask any neighbor and they were more than willing to share.
These days, most people don’t even know the next door neighbor’s name. No one wants to get involved in the neighborhood watch or know who the neighbors are, much less what they do. High fences separate back yards so no one gets to know his neighbor.
A place where this attitude is NOT the norm is in boating. A prime example of the great “one-ness” of the boating community happened on our last trip to Avalon. Our 46 foot sailboat was moored between two beautiful powerboats. Sometimes the friendly rivalry between “ragboats” and “stinkboats” does exist, but this day was different. We struck up a conversation with the folks on both sides of us. One was an ex-sailor, who decided to go to power boats when he retired. On the other side was a retired fire captain from Los Angeles County. His boat was aptly named “Fire Escape.” Remember, we are talking to these folks across 20-30 feet of water…we were moored in Avalon Harbor, not at a dock in Long Beach or Newport.
Later that evening, we were making a wonderful dinner of lasagne, Caeser salad, and garlic bread, complete with a bottle of chianti. Oh no! We didn’t have any garlic! All we had to do was ask the boat next to us if they had any, and the next thing we knew, one of the guys on board came over on his paddle board with a container of garlic powder in his pocket! Talk about service with a smile! I think he just wanted an excuse to show off his paddle board expertise! The garlic powder was handed down to me in the galley; I sprinkled it on my bread and passed it back topside. The neighbor was off within a minute, back to his own boat 20 feet away.
What a great way to live! Share with your neighbor, even if you don’t really know him! What’s a few shakes of garlic powder in the big scheme of things? Yet it meant so much to our dinner that it seemed like they had given us a huge gift! And in fact they did–the gift of being a good neighbor!
Here’s to the return of good neighbors! B.A. Sams