Not my neighbors.
In fact, one of the few regrets I have about where we live is that I don't really know my neighbors. My neighborhood, yes. The older man who runs the corner convenience store. The dog who lives across the street. But my neighbors? Not really.
El Bandito and I arrived back from our adventure in the Windy City to my parents' home just in time to turn around and cross the street to a gathering of friends.
My parents have lived on the same block for over 30 years. The block has changed, but there is a core group of people who have lived here for 10-30 years, with my folks being some of the longest-term residents.
And they're friends, not just to nod hello to, but to celebrate with, to mourn with.
Tonight's gathering was a holiday celebration, and a chance for the (grown) children of the block to recongregate -- and to visit with the other long-term members of the block. Most of the "block kids" are younger than I am. I got a lot of baby-sitting jobs in my teens. Now those same kids are adults. Some of them came for the holidays. It's neat to see the adults they've turned into.
But more than that, it's lovely to see how chance has formed such a community over the years. To see my parents greeted with hugs (by block residents and returning offspring alike), to be greeted with hugs and chided to move closer. The teasing and the affection that have grown over decades of experience with each other.
And to know that my parents have nearby friends looking out for them.