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Neighborhoods are communities within communities.

When we were young, thoughtful men, women and couples visited with our parents, shared special occasion celebrations and hosted savory summer suppers. They watched over us tots and teens as we rode our bicycles up and down the sidewalks and rescued our curious but wayward pets who wandered into their backyards.

In college, dorm mates, sorority sisters, and study partners stepped up and became our new neighbors, helping us interact with individuals from many different places and generously inviting us to their homes when money did not allow us to return to ours during holidays or semester breaks.

If those first jobs meant moving to another state, we found support and encouragement from co-workers, apartment complex residents, and acquaintances who lived within walking distance.

Even though Hot Springs has changed a great deal over the years, interesting neighborhoods comprised of interesting people have long been part of this city's charm.

And neighbors continue to be so very important to our daily lives. They welcome us when we move into a nearby abode; they bring us baked goods and other food treats just because they are being, well, neighborly. They help sweep off the icy steps when winter blows through and they come to the rescue when a car battery goes kaput. They offer to take one's bag of trash to the disposal bin and they offer a friendly wave when passing us on the driveway.

They invite us in for a chat or to see their new furnishings. When asked, they offer gardening tips or suggestions on where to buy that new stove or other appliance and where to find a repairman or decorator. If need be, they willingly get our mail and check on the heat and air temperatures when we're out of town for more than just a day or so.

They walk our dogs, feed our cats, and water our plants -- just as if these furry creatures and green growing things were their very own.

When we're sick, they offer sustenance in a myriad of ways and when we or they suffer a grievous loss, it is the neighbors who are among the first to express their sympathy and empathy.

Not every neighbor becomes an intimate friend, but every neighbor is important to the good of the whole and to the well-being of his or her place of residence.

Neighbors are truly a diverse population -- in background, age, gender, family make-up, ethnicity, and work history. Each of them brings something vital to the environs in which all are connected.

Sadly, three members of our neighborhood have died in fairly close succession and we who are left to mourn their passing have been deeply affected by these losses.

We will continue to honor the memories of Jo Armstrong, Jonathan C. Smith, and Glenn E. Stafford. We will continue to lift up their families and bring them some measure of comfort and assurance.

And when others choose to join us here in our little area, we will say to them, "Welcome to the neighborhood."

Editorial on 11/04/2019

Print Headline: The importance of neighborhoods

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